The Evolution of the New York Times Brooklyn Trend Piece

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As you may have noticed, the New York Times likes to write about Brooklyn. A lot. Really, a lot, a lot, a lot. Obviously this makes sense, since the Times is, after all, the paper of record for New York, and we are one big, sassy, z-snapping, news-making borough to contend with.

Unfortunately, as you also may have noticed, things really hit the skids here when it comes to the Brooklyn trend piece. So much so that it actually kind of seems like they’re baiting us. Even after Brian Williams — representative of one of the biggest, most mainstream, New York-based media outlets around — publicly mocked the Times’ “discovery of Brooklyn” as the biggest news story of 2010, no one took the hint.

No, they actually started doing it more. For every article that hits its target — Bushwick was a great real estate investment in 2006, beer brewing has seen a big renaissance in the area — there’s another, earnestly chronicling everything from Greenpoint’s inevitable transition into the “next Williamsburg” to the existence of bars and people with tattoos on Wythe avenue. It seems like the Times‘ infatuation with the curious, trendy young things of Brooklyn has only deepened, if not necessarily been returned.

Below, we take a look through some of Grey Lady’s weirder love letters to our borough (or at least the newly hip parts), and we, uh, put our phones straight to silent:

3 Comment

  • Rockaway is in QUEENS. Queens people hate Brooklyn trying to “claim” it as much as the NYtimes, almost.

  • When I started reading the New York Times about 50 years ago (our English teacher at JHS 285 in East Flatbush, Mrs. Sanjour, made us get the Sunday paper and quizzed us on the Arts & Leisure section and maybe more), you could not even get the paper in much of Brooklyn.

    I used to have to be driven or take a bus to the train stations at the Junction or Kings Highway because neighborhood newsstands/”candy stores” carried the Daily News, Daily Mirror, Post, Journal-American, World-Telegram & Sun and the Long Island Press but not the Times (in school we got the Herald-Tribune) and there was almost never anything inside the paper about Brooklyn.

    You were more likely to read about Atlanta or Detroit or Los Angeles as Brooklyn. They wouldn’t deliver the paper to most neighborhoods in Brooklyn (my parents tried to order it). But the Daily News had a big Brooklyn section with a Sunday feature, “I Remember Old Brooklyn,” which I liked (I guess this comment resembles the contributions in it) and did cover Brooklyn new extensively, and I think the Mirror did too.

    This continued through the 1970s, I think, though we students at Brooklyn College got on the front page with a photo during a Vietnam war protest (probably because it was “representative” of a nationwide trend rather than because the Times cared about Brooklyn). Typically, a search for the term “Brooklyn” in the Times archive for the month of August 1970 turns up this one story: “Mrs. Spatt Proposecd for Post Of Brooklyn Borough President; Mrs. Lerner Will Nominate City Planning Unit Aide to Succeed Stark” — which turned out to be inaccurate, because Sam Leone was actually chosen to succeed Abe Stark.

  • On the other hand, they did recently do a story on our beloved Sheepshead Bay hangout, Roll-n-Roaster, and there was talk in the article about it being “the real Brooklyn” — which it probably is.