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Fear City - Boston 1993 Cover and back pagesFear City, Boston Version from 1993. Scan courtesy of John Landers, of Brooklyn NY

Untapped Cities readers may remember the 1975 anti-tourist pamphlet released by the New York City Council for Public Safety, the cover emblazoned with a scary skull and the bold capital words: WELCOME TO FEAR CITY. This was the New York City of a different era, and the pamphlet was part of a Council scare tactic to keep tourists away–all in retaliation for a slew of layoffs that shrunk the city’s police force and other public agencies. Yesterday, Untapped Cities reader John Landers from Brooklyn, NY shared with us scans of the much lesser-known Boston version, from 1993, which he has a copy of, which was timed with the Boston Centennial.

Fear City - Boston 1993 pages 2 and 3-001Scan courtesy of John Landers of Brooklyn NY

It has some priceless Boston-specific warnings that differ from the New York version: including warning visitors to stay off the streets at all times (instead of just after 6pm in New York City), “Be Cautious in Seeking Help!”, “Avoid Known Trouble Spots” (like “the infamous combat zone, the Boston Common” and the “unsavory” theatre district, and “Don’t think your hotel is safe–it isn’t.”

Fear City - Boston 1993 pages 2 and 3-002Scan courtesy of John Landers

As Landers writes to us in an email:

I am at a loss to understand why any police union would get involved in another “Fear City” campaign when you consider the original one back in 1975 which I remember very well was an absolute public relations disaster for the New York City PBA. From what I understand the Boston Patrolman’s Association backed campaign was met with unbelievable opposition, not just from the local politicians and media but from nearly 100% of local store owners in Boston who felt that this campaign was going to destroy their businesses. Ironically as a funny sidebar to this Boston campaign, Bill Bratton was the Boston Police Commissioner when this version of Fear City was released in 1993.

He also sent us a perfect scan of the New York City version from 1975, much clearer than the ones being circulated in 2013 online:

Fear City - New York 1975 cover and back pageScan courtesy of John Landers

Fear City - New York 1975 pages 2 and 3Scan courtesy of John Landers

See more detailed scans of the New York City Fear City Campaign from 1975.

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