Billboard offends Bronx residents

February 22, 2012 1:24:30 PM PST
They've been up about a week, billboards for a vodka company touting escort quality, at hooker prices.

If the ad campaign was meant to be edgy and funny, residents of one Bronx neighborhood have another word to describe it: offensive.

"It's unbelievable, it's like 'wow, are you kidding me?'" Rafael Salamanca said.

Rafael Salamanca is the district manager of Community Board 2 which encompasses Hunts Point. The neighborhood with its mixed residential and industrial base has long battled prostitution. For decades groups have tried to clean up the area and improve quality of life.

A representative for the company says Wodka did not target Hunts Point for the ad, explaining the billboard company selects locations in the five boroughs based on availability. There are seven such displays throughout the city. Still, those who live and work in Hunts Point give it a Bronx cheer.

"There are schools around the corner, and kids could get the wrong idea. And you know they are trying to clean up the Hunts Point area," said Peter Luckman, a local merchant.

"We know the history of Hunts Point, you know, with the prostitution. That defiantly needs to be taken down," said Tina Martin, a local employee.

Indeed this afternoon workers from the billboard company, Van Wagner, did just that, removing the vinyl sign from its perch along the Bruckner Expressway.

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