A Vacation In The Bronx?

Yankee stadium seats
The time to start planning your vacation to the Bronx is now — at least that is the hope of a series of new television commercials touting the borough's image.

The 30-second spots promoting the borough of 1.3 million as a tourist destination are part of a marketing campaign called "We're Talking the Bronx."

The ads, which debut next week, were unveiled Tuesday by Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., who spoke of the Bronx's journey from blight to a new frontier of residential and commercial development.

"The Bronx has risen from the decades of the '70s and '80s to a place that many people didn't imagine that it could," Carrion said. "It is a great American story of a community that refused failure, that embraced success and opportunity."

Carrion appears on the commercials as the borough's pitchman, selling its Zagat-rated restaurants and attractions, including Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo and botanical gardens. Carrion also talks about efforts to reduce traffic congestion and rebuild playgrounds.

There is no mention of the borough's high unemployment rate and lack of a major hotel.

The commercials, produced by White Plains-based ad agency Weinrib & Conner, will run for nine weeks on cable networks in parts of the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester County. They are part of an overall marketing campaign, already in its fourth year, aimed at improving the image of the Bronx and attracting more tourists. Last year, the borough had seven million visitors.

Lloyd Ultan, the borough historian, said the commercials may help to boost the Bronx's image, which has long been overshadowed by the crime, arson and abandoned buildings of the 1970s and 1980s.

"People must realize that there are no longer any devastated areas in the Bronx, that crime in the Bronx has dropped to the lowest levels in 40 years," Ultan said.

The borough's name comes from the first European family to settle in the area, the Broncks. When Jonas Bronck died in 1643, the river on his 500-acre property was named after him, and, eventually, the region took the name.