Finally! Fodor’s releases travel guide to Brooklyn

Brooklyn beat: Fodor’s editor-in-chief Arabella Bowen will introduce the publishing company’s new travel guide at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sept. 20.
Photo by Jason Speakman

It’s about time!

Fodor’s famed travel guide series has finally recognized Brooklyn’s status as the only borough worth visiting. The publisher’s editor-in-chief, who will discuss “Fodor’s Brooklyn” at the Brooklyn Book Festival taking over Downtown on Sept. 20, says that the time had come for a Brooklyn guidebook that was not weighed by our unwieldy neighbor to the west.

“We’re not treating this as an add-on to New York City or an add-on to Manhattan,” said Arabella Bowen. “Brooklyn has become such a destination in its own right, we really felt it deserves its own guide book.”

But does the international publisher really have the street-cred necessary to write about the hipster capital of the world?

“So many of us actually live in Brooklyn, so it has a deeply local flavor to it,” said Bowen.

The book was written by Brooklynites who created guides to their own neighborhoods, she says, so its travel tips for restaurants, museums, and quirky hole-in-the-wall shops have a special familiarity. No other Fodor’s guidebook has gone to those lengths, said Bowen.

“This is truly unique that we’ve gone so granular as to go right down to the neighborhood,” she said. “You’re getting that true local advice from someone who lives in the place and experiences it year-round.”

Despite that care, the guidebook does have its problems. For instance, it inexplicably fails to recognize this newspaper as the definitive record of Brooklyn activities, instead directing tourists to pick up a copy of the now-defunct L Magazine. But it scores some points back for including neighborhoods that are off the tourist-beaten path, such as Ditmas Park, Bay Ridge, and Bensonhurst.

Bowen hopes the guide will appeal to Brooklyn locals, who sometimes cling to their own neighborhood due fear of getting stuck on a G-train platform.

“The subway system is so geared towards getting people into the city,” she said. “A lot of Brooklynites haven’t explored their own borough because it’s so hard to get around.”

At the book festival discussion, Bowen will chat with Oriana Leckert, author of “Brooklyn Spaces,” the book and blog about the borough’s underground arts culture.

“Brooklyn Places and Spaces” at the Brooklyn Book Festival Main Stage [Columbus Park at Cadman Plaza West and Johnson Street Downtown, (570) 362–6657, www.brooklynbookfestival.org]. Sept. 20 at 5 pm. Free. Other readings and discussions all over Downtown, 10 am–6 pm.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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