I have to chuckle when I see articles like A neighbourhood guide to Brooklyn, just out from the UK edition of National Geographic. It has the semi-laudable goal of going beyond the better-known neighborhoods like "Williamsburg, Bushwick and Park Slope" (they left out DUMBO).
But the second part of sentence resorts to generalization and cliche-- "now Brooklyn’s DIY aesthetic is spreading across the borough into other districts"--signaling the unreliability of the advice. By no means does "DIY aesthetic" do justice to the high-rise pile-up in Williamsburg or the historic preservation in Park Slope, much less the highly-contested gentrification in Bushwick.
Moreover, instructions on visiting Red Hook, Gowanus, and Greenpoint ignores the advice I'd stress: plan your visit in terms of adjacencies. In other words, it's fine to visit Red Hook and Gowanus, but, if so, don't ignore Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill in between them. Meanwhile, Greenpoint is pretty far away. It should be visited in tandem with Williamsburg (and maybe Bushwick), or even Long Island City in Queens.
About Red Hook
How could they publish this paragraph?
When you’re at an apartment party in Red Hook, as I recently was, it’s easy to distinguish the denizens of this district from other New Yorkers. Red Hookers often sport unkempt beards, beanie hats and flannel shirts. And coupled with the neighbourhood’s maritime past, there’s a prevailing grunge rock-meets-Alaskan fishing village vibe.
That sounds like a parody. At the very least, it's utterly tone deaf, given that most Red Hookers are actually residents of public housing and members of minority groups.
And while the article notes that "the nearest subway station is a 30-minute walk away" and plugs CitiBike, it ignores... the bus.
In Gowanus, the author visits the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, whose co-owner says the neighborhood "felt like a secret industrial enclave." The article mentions that advent of places to eat, drink, and party, as well as the canal clean-up.
But "renderings of the canal with gondolas on it and lively bars and restaurants on its banks" are, unmentioned, part of a massive planned up-zoning to add thousands of apartments.
Then we get to Greenpoint, the "incredible Brooklyn neighbourhood you’ve probably never heard of." The article cites a bar called The Springs on Franklin Street, and then two rarely-open, not-really-walkable, arts spaces, Mothership NYC, which is on Green Street in the industrial area east of McGuinness Boulevard, and Last Frontier NYC, which is on Kingsland Avenue near Newtown Creek.
Not a very convenient--or wise--route.
Suffice it to say that none of these squibs offer the best capsule descriptions of each neighborhood nor represent a viable way to spend a few hours. Which is why, I guess, tour guides like me make the effort to devise intricate walking tour routes lasting 2.5+ hours.
Oh, and just to thrown in some random attractions, albeit without directions and a plan for tackling them, the article ends with a list: Industry City, Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Flea, and Brooklyn Brewery. Oh, plus street art in Bushwick, a neighborhood cliched as "the definitive hipster haunt," as if the hipsterization is complete and not without incident.
Note: the same critique applies to most articles that profess to advise on "24 hours in Brooklyn" or "48 hours in Brooklyn" or "one day in Brooklyn" or "two days in Brooklyn." You have to have a strategy!
Touring Brooklyn Blog
Observations and ephemera related to my tours and Brooklyn. Comments and questions are welcome--and moderated.