Brooklyn Boro

The city’s official tourism website leaves out more than half of Brooklyn

October 28, 2019 Noah Goldberg
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There’s only one way for a novice to learn about New York City if she really wants to know the ins and outs of this complicated, historic metropolis full of wonder.

You guessed it: It’s New York City’s own official tourism website. (Note: This is a joke. That’s maybe the worst way.)

The website provides an unbiased and unhindered peak behind the glossy glass facades of Midtown Manhattan and takes viewers into what’s real — like thrifting in Williamsburg. Here’s where the city wants you to go in Brooklyn, and the areas they didn’t care to include.

Check out this description of Brooklyn via your favorite municipal government: “Hipsters head to Williamsburg for live music and vintage threads. Superfans catch pro hockey and basketball at Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn. Got kids? Prospect Park and Park Slope beckon, as does the borough’s restaurant scene.”

via GIPHY

Even more audacious: “And no matter who you are, you’ll love the views along the scenic Brooklyn Heights Promenade.” The city fails to mention they planned to tear down this promenade to pave paradise in the form of the BQE. But who cares?

The video produced about Brooklyn by the city wants you to imagine yourself in its midst. The first image is the glowing brick facades of some walkups at magic hour. The second? A young, bearded white man wearing wire-rim glasses drinking a coffee in a cafe. This is Brooklyn, baby.

I know I felt represented (though I can’t grow a beard).

Here’s our issue with the website. It ignores the more than 50 percent of the borough. Neighborhoods further from Manhattan — many of them less wealthy and less white than the ones included on the site — are left off as if they don’t exist.

Sure, gentrifying neighborhoods are mentioned. Crown Heights is included, as is Bedford-Stuyvesant. Bushwick gets a lot of play. Sunset Park is in there.

But large swaths of the borough are written off, especially to the south and east.

Head to Sheepshead Bay and walk along the water before grabbing a roast beef sandwich at Roll-N-Roaster. Watch men play cricket in Brownsville before playing some tennis in Lincoln Terrace Park. Grab Brooklyn’s best square slice at L&B Spumoni Gardens after a beautiful walk around Gravesend.

Are you a Brooklynite living in East New York, Sheepshead Bay, Canarsie, Borough Park or one of the many other “forgotten” Brooklyn neighborhoods? Comment below to share your best neighborhood tips!


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5 Comments

  1. “The city fails to mention they planned to tear down this promenade to pave paradise in the form of the BQE.” I sure hope they come up with a better medium-term construction plan than tearing down the promenade, but I don’t think even in the worst-of-case proposals the promenade is destroyed permanently. I also can’t keep up with whether it is good to have the city point out your neighborhood to tourists or bad – AOC seems to be angry that the “Joker steps” are attracting a lot of tourists to a previously under-touristed part of the Bronx. Put me in the camp of people who would view it as a gift to stay off of the tourist map.

  2. vincent Chirico

    How about dining at some
    Of the most diverse restaurant rows, or shopping in 3 of the best commercial strips in Bay Ridge? Or visiting historic Fort Hamilton? Or walking/biking/roller-blading along Brooklyn’s southern shore, from the 69th Street pier to the foot of Bay Parkway? Or golfing at Dyker Beach Golf Course?

  3. Gib Veconi

    Let’s also acknowledge that Barclays Center is not in downtown Brooklyn as stated on the Brooklyn landing page, but in Prospect Heights (as correctly pointed out on NYCGO’s Prospect Heights page).

  4. Andrew Porter

    Now every time I use the subway, I have to battle through mobs of slow-walking tourists coming to Brooklyn Heights in order to turn around and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. It’s rush hour all day!

    Heaven help you if you’re taking the escalators at the High Street A/C subway. The tourists stop, don’t move down (or up). I guess no other city in the world has escalators!

    So be happy that so much of Brooklyn is off the radar of the tourist hordes.