Brooklyn is officially so important that it needs its own guidebook — a side note in a general tourists’ guide to New York City won’t cut it anymore.
Guides to the borough aren’t completely new, of course — Not For Tourists has been publishing them for the better part of a decade — but on September 15 we’ll see the first Brooklyn book from acclaimed travel publisher Fodor’s. It’s 100 percent written by Brooklyn-based writers and gorgeously illustrated by Claudia Pearson, who’s been a mainstay at the Brooklyn Flea for years.
While Brooklyn has long been its own destination, Fodor’s editor in chief Arabella Bowen said part of what sparked the guide was that “several major hotels opened, allowing visitors to spend their entire trip in Brooklyn for the first time.”
One of the challenges of writing the book — and part of Brooklyn’s charm — is that the borough is constantly changing. “Keeping up with all the new things opening here all the time [is tough],” Bowen said. “Brooklyn’s mercurial nature is a huge part of its appeal.”
If the guide had been published even three years ago, certain chapters would be drastically different. There would be no Barclays Center, Greenwood Park, or Berg’n, to name just a few of many new places to eat, drink and play.
That’ll certainly be the case three years from now too, and, in fact, not everything will even still be relevant by the time the book comes out. The Bushwick and East Williamsburg chapter, for example, mentions Cafeteria La Mejor, which Brownstoner just reported recently closed.
However quickly things may change, though, Fodor’s definitely features an impressive mix of trendy, new (for now) places and old standbys, including many in more-residential neighborhoods that don’t tend to draw too many tourists.
Bowen said the book is geared toward Brooklyn residents as well as those traveling here: “Brooklyn locals can use this guide to get to know their own neighborhood better and explore beyond their usual stomping grounds,” she said.
Along with the expected food, drink and shopping recommendations, there are also suggestions for must-see architecture, such as in Victorian Flatbush or Park Slope. Scattered throughout are brief interviews with Brooklyn notables and locals, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, actor and filmmaker Adrian Grenier, an Etsy exec, a cofounder of OKCupid and the president of the Brooklyn Historical Society.
It’s likely Fodor’s will continue updating the book through the years — during which time we’ll see if Sunset Park is still the “next big thing,” as it’s described here — but this first Brooklyn guide will serve as a snapshot of what was happening in Brooklyn in 2015.
Illustrations by Claudia Pearson for Fodor’s