The Brooklyn Nobody Knows: An Urban Walking Guide

Princeton Univ. Oct. 2016. 328p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691166827. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400883127. TRAV
Even Brooklyn residents will learn something new in this inclusive book, the first of five planned New York City walking guides. Helmreich (sociology, City Univ. of New York's Colin Powell Sch. of Civic and Global Leadership; The New York Nobody Knows) trekked the entire borough to see for himself what each neighborhood had to offer. His journey also enabled him to talk with the experts, the residents themselves. At Broadway Pigeon and Pet Supplies we learn about the variety of corn pigeons consume, and employee Tony Graham shares how taking care of the birds keeps his 14-year-old "outta trouble, away from drugs and gangs." No one refused to chat during his sojourn from Greenpoint to Coney Island between October 2014 and August 2015. He encountered parades, block parties, restaurants, bars, and parks. In addition to poetic yet helpful descriptions, Helmreich's narrative focuses on the unusual and unknown, providing street maps (noting a former Studebaker dealership, rapper Biggie Smalls's crib, and Empire Mayo, a shop devoted solely to mayonnaise) of Brooklyn's 44 distinct neighborhoods, equaling 71 square miles.
VERDICT Crisp pictures, such as those of Mrs. Maxwell's Bakery—New York's largest party cake store—safety tips, and an impressive bibliography are welcome additions to an appealing work for locals, tourists, and urban explorers.
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