Remember when The New York Times discovered Brooklyn? When did that happen again? It seems like just last year, doesn't it? Well, try not to be too surprised, but the Times has actually known about Brooklyn all along. The Times has been on it, you guys. But even though the Times has always known about Brooklyn, it is true that the paper has recently been writing much, much more about this borough of ours than it used to. BKLYNR has broken down mentions of Brooklyn—neighborhood by neighborhood—over the course of the last 30 years and found that mentions of the borough have changed considerably—both in frequency and in tone. Articles about violence and poverty have been replaced with pieces on hipster style and bike lanes. But what neighborhoods get mentioned the most? And which get all but ignored? It's actually a little surprising.
3) Fort Greene
This neighborhood was the third most frequently mentioned in 2012, and the reasons for its popularity are interesting for their diversity. Yes, a lot of the stories were about real estate or things like "staple gun decorating," but there was also an abundance of human interest stories, like the ones on Brooklyn's very own Olympian, Lia Neal and Robert Lasner and his 10-year-old independent publishing house, Ig Publishing. Since 1981, Fort Greene's mention in the Times rose by over 1000%, from 18 mentions to 311. Well done, Fort Greene. You're clearly moving up in the world.
2) Park Slope
Coming in at number two? Park Slope. What could the Times possibly have to write about when it comes to the neighborhood that is basically its ideal target audience in both income and sensibility? Well, everything. There were pieces about the "turf war" between parents and singles, about where Obama lived when he was in Brooklyn, about the controversial rezoning of prized school districts, about writers living and where they like to drink coffee, about everything you could possibly imagine people in Park Slope want to read. But way back in 1981, Park Slope was limited to only 57 mentions in the Times. Everything has changed. Everything.
Surprised? I didn't think so. Williamsburg was the most mentioned neighborhood in the Times last year. This was due to a lot of things, including the reopening of McCarren Pool and the attendent drama (which wasn't even all that dramatic, and mostly involved pool poop), style pieces on man buns and the like, and, oh, just a million other trend stories that the Times loves to do and that we love to complain about. Williamsburg was not always this popular though, back in 1981 it was only mentioned a measly 71 times. That's like about as many mentions as it gets every Sunday in the Styles section now.
Honorable Mention: Red Hook
Red Hook spiked in Times mentions last year because of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, which is a sad reason to gain popularity. However, it is worth noting that Red Hook was not mentioned because of the reason it used to be in the pages of the Times: crime. Last year, there were no recorded murders in the neighborhood, which is really incredible when you browse through the paper's archives using the key words "Red Hook."
Dishonorable Mention: Lefferts Garden
This beautiful and historic neighborhood on the eastern border of Prospect Park only had 7 mentions in the Times last year. I mean, that's ridiculous. There are probably places in Staten Island with more mentions than that. Can Lefferts Garden possibly be happy to be flying under the radar of Times readers? Could it want to stay a happily-guarded secret while the rest of Brooklyn gets exploited in the Styles section? I don't know. Maybe? Or maybe Lefferts Garden really needs to step up its game and come up with a trend, hopefully involving mens' facial hair, so that it can really be put on the map. We'll see what happens, but I believe in you, Lefferts Garden. You can do it.
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