Insider Brooklyn by Rachel Felder Review by Susan Miller

Brooklyn has become the coolest borough of New York, almost overnight. Rachel Felder is a journalist whose work has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, and Departures, among others, often writing about style, travel, and fashion. She realized there were no guidebooks that helped give a reader an insider look of this borough. I was impressed by the Harper Collins’ press release on the book, and so I will quote from here:

Brooklyn has unquestionably become New York City’s “It” borough. In INSIDER BROOKLYN, Rachel Felder—a veteran journalist and style & shopping expert with four generations of personal Brooklyn history—has used her cultivated eye to curate a gorgeous anthology of the borough’s best of everything: a carefully handpicked selection of noteworthy and unique boutiques of all sorts, restaurants, cafés, bakeries, bars, wellness spots, salons and beauty specialists, bookstores, and much more. It is a consummate, in-the-know New Yorker’s savvy selection of the standout places that make Brooklyn so alluring. 

As much a gift as a hands-on guide, the book will appeal to both locals and the huge amount of tourists—over 58 million last year, from America and all over the world—who visit New York City. Alongside more than 250 evocative photographs taken by Felder, the book includes some 200 standout destinations; each entry features complete contact information, including subway stops, as well as loads of details on what makes each business so special.

The book begins with a comprehensive list of Brooklyn’s anchor attractions—major landmarks, parks and gardens, museums and zoos, legendary bars and restaurants, and flea markets—along with a comprehensive listing of the most stylish hotels that now populate the borough. Felder then takes visitors into individual neighborhoods, exploring each area’s most distinctive spots to explore. Each entry features a detailed description highlighting each venue’s salient offerings, from period antique finds to culinary specialties.

The book’s selection covers both hidden heritage businesses and trendy new hotspots. It encompasses new discoveries, popular mainstays, and neighborhood gems. Included are furniture and décor; antiques and collectibles; vintage, contemporary, and gently used designer clothing; jewelry, things for the home; oddities and curiosities; health and beauty; and all sorts of assorted (and sometimes quirky) gifts. To round out the guide, Felder has included a specially commissioned map of the borough and an alphabetical index of listings. 

Are you curious yet? I feel what makes this book special is that Rachel armed herself with her trusty camera and took photographs of each of the places she visited while collecting her information. Rachel’s research spanned two years of almost constant digging to uncover all the jewels of Brooklyn. Her publisher, Harper Collins, agreed that the plethora of beautiful color photographs she created needed to be included in her book, for they instantly transmit the charm and beauty of the places that Rachel suggests you visit. I love books that are lavishly illustrated and smartly written—INSIDER BROOKLYN is both. I have already purchased four books for my friends, and it will be on my holiday gift list too.

Whether you live in the New York City metropolitan area or plan to visit the city soon, this book is a must to bookmark, read, and bring along with you when you come to the Big Apple. Even seasoned New Yorkers find it hard to keep up with the explosion of exciting change going on in Brooklyn. Rachael’s book will keep you in the know and feeling like a native.


Susan Miller