The official tourism agency for New York City, NYC & Company, cancelled Alexandra Murari’s membership after she complained to El Diairo-La Prensa about the lack of advertising for the Bronx.
In the September 17 article, “City doesn’t lend helping hand to Bronx tourism,” translated by Voices of NY, Murari, who owns MCNY Bronx Historical Tours, brought to light the lack of information about the borough at hotels and visitor centers in Manhattan.
The same morning that the article was published, Suzanne Pomaroy of NYC & Company told Maruri over the phone that the agency was withdrawing her membership.
“They told me they were canceling my membership because I raised the issue in public of how NYC & Company isn’t doing anything for the Bronx, and that as a member I’m always complaining,” said Murari. “I told them that before El Diario entered the picture, I had been informing them of the problem for a long time by writing letters.”
Maruri was a member of NYC & Company since 2011 and paid an annual fee of $715. For tourism companies that join, the agency distributes their advertising materials and promotes them on its website.
“They returned the membership check I had already sent in and my company’s fliers,” said Murari.
The tour guide entrepreneur complains that in all of the agency’s promotional programs for the city, “they don’t include the Bronx, only the other boroughs.”
“One of those campaigns is ‘Where’s Waldo in NYC?’ Waldo is this little character with a red-and-white-striped sweater who represents the world traveler. They place him next to a photo of a tourist destination, but out of those places I never saw any in the Bronx,” said Murari.
Murari said that her membership was withdrawn as “a punishment” for her complaints.
“They shouldn’t have done that,” she said. “I’m the only who who’s trying to sell a tour focused exclusively on showing historical and cultural places in the Bronx, so that people see that the borough is beautiful.”
El Diario reached out to NYC & Company for reaction but their spokeswoman, Emily Mayrath, said the agency “doesn’t comment on private affairs concerning memberships.”