The Bronx Tourism Council is trying to drive more tourism—and technology—to the Bronx by launching a new promotion together with car-sharing company Zipcar.
Zipcar members, regardless of what borough they live in or drive from, can get a 15-percent discount at participating restaurants in the Bronx, under the promotion that started on Jan. 9. In Riverdale, Bacco, Blackstone Bar and Grill and Moss Café have taken part.
The idea came to Olga Tirado, the Bronx Tourism Council’s executive director, when she was visiting a museum in upstate New York and thought the Bronx could also use a quick and efficient way of navigating, such as a rented Zipcar, she said.
So, Tirado, who lives in Riverdale, and her team set out to change the way people travel to restaurants, especially in January when business is slow after the holidays.
“To have that sort of relationship [with Zipcar] made a lot of sense,” she said.
Tirado’s mission is to bring attention to areas such as Riverdale and Throggs Neck, to encourage travel among local residents, and to persuade those who live outside the borough to visit the Bronx.
“The Bronx had kind of a bad reputation,” she said, “but I think the perception has gotten better in my tenure. I’ve gotten positive attention [about the borough].”
But her mission does not stop there. By bringing more than foot traffic to restaurants, she wants to empower the businesses as well.
“Their existence is contingent on an audience,” Tirado said. “[And] it’s about repeat business. If someone likes a place they’ll bring their friends, they’ll talk about it to their friends, they’ll tweet about it.”
In the more distant future, Tirado said she would like to continue working with local organizations, such as the Riverdale Merchants Association, to bring them more visitors.
Even when it comes to Riverdale, which she says she is biased towards, she would like to see more visitors in the neighborhood and have “wall to wall people” filling up restaurants and other local attractions.
“If I can be a catalyst [for making a change in the Bronx],” she said. “Then I feel like I’m doing what I wanted to set out to do.”
To learn more about other participating restaurants in this Zipcar promotion, visit zipcar.com/bronxguide.