It's not simple to distill a huge borough--the equivalent of a city--into a guidebook, much less an article or two. And as I traveler myself, I recognize that visitors often want to pack in as much as possible.
So we should give the New York Times some slack for such articles as the recent 36 Hours in Brooklyn or the 2011 incarnation of 36 Hours in Brooklyn. Like other articles, they pack in some useful highlights and tips.
However... it's difficult to avoid broad generalizations like this: "But south of Williamsburg, the borough’s character — both boisterous and architecturally beautiful, worldly with working-class roots — remains."
To which I say: WTF?
The borough's character is available north of Williamsburg, as well. (Frankly, parts of Williamsburg still have character too, despite the hipsterization.) More importantly, Brooklyn is way too complicated and diverse for such a claim. Some of the "architecturally beautiful" neighborhoods have patrician roots, for example.
But my biggest quibble concerns the pursuit of breadth over depth. If you followed the advice in the latest article, you'd traipse through DUMBO and go to the Brooklyn Roasting Company but not the chocolate shop (which does have coffee) Jacques Torres, which is a neighborhood gem.
You'd walk to a restaurant named La Vara on a mostly residential block, Clinton Street, but not traverse the two parallel shopping streets, Court Street and Smith Street. And then you'd miss out on nightlife opportunities nearby, because the article tells you to hop over to Hank's Saloon many blocks away.
That's not a wise use of time and walking energy. I recommend a more concentrated effort to get more out of your surroundings.
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Touring Brooklyn Blog
Observations and ephemera related to my tours and Brooklyn. Comments and questions are welcome--and moderated.