When I attended Book Expo America this past spring with Michelle, I picked up an advance copy of Adrienne Onofri’s Walking Brooklyn (Wilderness Press, 2007) with the intention of making it the “W” of my Brooklyn alphabet. I was not disappointed. The small book (perfect for carrying in your bag) details 30 different Brooklyn neighborhood walks. Kyle and I often take off on our own circuitous routes through Bed-Stuy or Prospect Heights, but with this book, you actually have a friendly tour guide by your side. Each walk includes maps and bullet points of historical, cultural, and architectural information. For example, Onofri explains what’s up with Farrell’s, the old-time bar near my Windsor Terrace apartment that my roommates and I always wonder about:
“Farrell’s is said to be one of the first bars opened in Brooklyn after Prohibition was repealed. Cops, firefighters, and neighborhood loyalists love Farrell’s, which was featured in a scene with Helen Hunt and Shirley Knight in the Oscar-winning flick As Good As It Gets” (92).
Onofri then goes on to detail the history of street names and buildings that I walk by every day but until this book knew nothing about.
Because there are so many walks, Walking Brooklyn provides hours of entertainment in areas you might not normally visit. Take her Gravesend, Bay Ridge, or East New York walk and see what your borough has to offer. It’s also a perfect book to have on hand for visitors–while you’re at work they can check out Williamsburg, Red Hook, or Bushwick, and they’ll probably be able to teach you a thing or two about the areas when they return!
My one critique of the book is that it could include more photos. There are some, but they’re in black and white, and it would be nice to get more of a visual image of where you’ll be walking. Other than that, the book is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy some exercise, fresh air, and Brooklyn.