Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is once again seeing red over his borough taking a bad rap.
Most recently it was English artist Banksy painting his valuable grafitti on local walls.
A few years ago, it was Bronx-bred songstress Jennifer Lopez staying silent as a judge on “American Idol” while the show served up a gritty portrayal of the borough as a litter-strewn urban badland.
This time it’s over French politicians in the upcoming Paris mayoral race comparing the rising crime and decay in the City of Lights to the Boogie Down borough.
The original English-language article with the pols knocking the borough appeared in the English-language Quartz Daily, titled “Surreal: French politicians are debating whether Paris now resembles the Bronx.”
“Paris resembles the Bronx,” said former National Police chief Frederic Pechenard.
“Paris is not the Bronx,” proclaimed Socialist Party candidate Anne Hidalgo, backed by outgoing mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who also said his city “is not the Bronx.”
“The Bronx is lawless,” Rachida Dati, a mayoral candidate from the fashionable 7th arrondissement, declared on television. “Paris is not the Bronx.”
To which Diaz definitely responded with more than a Gallic shoulder shrug.
“The tired, ancient stereotypes about the Bronx continue to unfairly cloud the minds of people as far away as Paris, France. We in the Bronx have had enough,” he declared, citing the steady drop in crime in the borough, with the borough showing the lowest rate of crime last year than it has seen since the early Sixties. This year, he said, the borough “is on pace to be even safer.”
“And we’re not just leading the way in crime reduction,” he added. “Tens of thousands of new housing units have been constructed here, new businesses are coming to our borough and the existing businesses are growing. We are leading the way in ‘green’ construction, with projects like Via Verde. We have major new projects such as the PGA caliber golf course at Ferry Point Park and the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, which will add to the list of reasons, like the new Yankee Stadium, and the New York Botanical Garden, as to why the Bronx remains an international destination.”
But he grumbled that “Yet here we are, once again, forced to defend our hometown from the slanders and libels of politicians thousands of miles away, in Paris no less, who are using the Bronx to score cheap political points. Enough already. While we may not be home to the Eiffel Tower, we are the home to 1.4 million hardworking people who are proud of their hometown and how far the Bronx has come.”
He warned that “The elected officials of Paris would do well to remember that and focus on the issues Paris faces today, rather than the issues the Bronx faced decades ago.”
The original English-language article from Quartz Daily, titled “Surreal: French politicians are debating whether Paris now resembles the Bronx,” can be found at qz.com/156444.
Up-to-date crime statistics for the Bronx can be found at on.nyc.gov/198ruvr.