Brooklyn today is a world class destination

brooklyn-guidebook-new-2016 And The Brooklyn Experience is the insiders’ guide to a borough transformed.

Smart, interesting and fun to read, The Brooklyn Experience is that rare find: an independently-written, non-corporate travel guide. It’s meant for curious, independent travelers who want to find out what makes Brooklyn tick.

Using this guide, discover Brooklyn’s extraordinary cultural, literary, and culinary renaissance for yourself.

The Brooklyn Experience explores both Brooklyn’s gritty past and chic present. It brings readers to over thirty-five unique neighborhoods, from enclaves of multi-million dollar homes to scrappy, working-class neighborhoods. Along your journey, this book offers savvy tips on where to eat, drink, hear music, and appreciate the borough’s culture and history. From verdant parks with spectacular views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, to quiet waterways and Coney Island, this is the book that will help you experience Brooklyn.


More information about the book can be found at

Newsflash: I’m Writing A(nother) Brooklyn Guidebook!

Due out in 2016, I’m writing a book for tourists, locals and former Brooklynites, wherever you may live, that will give the inside story on the borough.

Got a favorite pizzeria, store, secret place in Brooklyn, or amazing photo you’d like to share? Send me an email!

This is my 4th real, physical, guidebook to Brooklyn. Yup, numero #4.

Back in the Pleistocene era, in 1991, my husband and I coauthored the first commercially published guidebook to Brooklyn in 50 years, since the end of World War II. We were newish parents and green arrivals to the borough, back when our Manhattan friends thought it was unsafe to travel here, when Smith Street, 5th Avenue in Park Slope, and Williamsburg were low-rent, dangerous and sometimes druggy, and when hookers trolled Gowanus. My how things have changed! We explored all the ethnic neighborhoods, thinking we’d desktop publish, but the project got too big, and the book was picked up by St. Martin’s Press, my publisher for BK guidebooks #’s 1, 2 and 3. And after reading the first guidebook, my editor moved from Queens to Brooklyn!

But, folks, I’m having a size problem:

  • The 1991 book was called Brooklyn, Where to Go, What to Do & How to Get There, and ran 292 pages. The introduction actually had to justify a guidebook to a place that mostly appeared in the media of the day only in reference to robberies, assaults, murders, and mobsters.
  • In 1998, I did a total overhaul and update, as the borough was beginning to take off. The result:  Brooklyn: A Soup to Nuts Guide. It was 100 pages longer than my first book.
  • In 2004, my third and fattest book ran over 500 pages, a real doorstop. Its super-size was due to all the new restaurants, stores and fun in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and DUMBO. It was called Brooklyn: The Ultimate Guide to New York’s Most Happening Borough. A good title—Brooklyn was the most happening a decade ago, and still is!
  • 2016: My new publisher is Rutgers University Press, and they’re terrific. Stay tuned!

So, sorry, but I’ll be offline for a bit, eschewing blogging in favor of research and writing my new guidebook to BK. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to explore these neighborhoods once again, and see the amazing creative energy and development that’s going on in North, South, East, West, and Central Brooklyn. The neighborhood boundaries are expanding and contracting, buildings are going up and cool cultural events are goin’ down, it’s hopping.  I just hope I can scrunch all there is to tell tourists into a book that’s not the size of, um, an overstuffed De Fonte’s heroe sandwich.

Cheers all, and if you have something to share, please do send it my way!



So, IS the 2016 Democratic Convention coming to Brooklyn???

Well, what do YOU think? Will the 2016 Democratic Convention come to Brooklyn…or not? Here’s a piece on Huffington Post I wrote about that very question….

Target First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum: Sched

It’s the place to be, folks. Free. Fun. Always great. Here’s the schedule…The Brooklyn Museum hosts a monthly free event on the first Saturday of almost every month. If you want to really “see” and feel what Brooklyn’s all about, this is a great place to start.  It’s  family friendly, interesting and attracts thousands of people. It runs from 5 PM until about 10, and you need a ticket for some events–they’re free, but it is first come, first served…


Race relations are in the forefront these days (and whenever not?) with all the heated discussions around the police and the mayor. And, it’s Black History Month too. So, talk about topical…In February 2014, Target First Saturday celebrates Black History Month. You can hear music by Bilal and Water Seed; screenings of Black Enuf, The Peculiar Kind, and Soul Food Junkies; and discussions with Kim Drew, founder of the blog Black Contemporary Art, and J. Ivy, Grammy Award-winning spoken word artist. (All the descriptions below are from the Brooklyn Museum website, go see for yourself….)

  • 5 p.m. Music: The New Orleans Treme band Water Seed performs sophisticated jazz infused with adventurous funk.
  • 6 p.m. Film: Soul Food Junkies (Byron Hurt, 2013, 60 min.) explores the love affair with soul food, a quintessential African American cuisine, and the relationship between food, family, and identity. Followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Hurt.
  • 6:30 p.m. Film: Animated documentary-in-progress Black Enuf takes a playful approach to questions of racial identity and self-acceptance. Followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Carrie Hawks.
  • 6:30-8:30 p.m. Pop-Up Gallery Talks: Join a lively discussion about artworks celebrating African American artists. Also, Hands-On Art: Use fabric to design a quilt square inspired by people and events in African American history and culture.
  • 7 p.m. Music: Soul Science Lab’s Chen Lo and Asante Amin present Soundtrack ’63, a multimedia, live music performance that honors the Civil Rights Movement. Also Discussion: The Black Poets Speak Out campaign presents a poetry forum in response to racial injustice and the police.
  • *7:30 p.m. Talk: Kim Drew, founder of the blog Black Contemporary Art, leads a panel discussion about the ways black contemporary artists engage social media.
  • *8 p.m. Film: The Peculiar Kind, a documentary developed from the eponymous web series, uses unscripted conversation to look at the lives of queer women of color.
  • *8:30 p.m. Book Club: J. Ivy, Grammy Award-winning spoken word artist, discusses his new memoir, Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain.
  • 9 p.m. Music: Classic R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Bilal performs tunes inspired by this month’s theme, including selections from his album Love Surreal.
  • For info on where to go, where to park, and where to eat, check the Brooklyn Museum website.