Remember a couple months ago, when Brian Williams launched into a hilarious mini-stand-up act about the way The New York Times covers Brooklyn? Williams was on his game, rattling off a list of quirky Brooklyn archetypes in the same kind of breathless voice the paper has been known to use when it rhapsodizes about the exotic territory (and home to many, many Times staffers) that is Brooklyn. Williams's riff got a lot of attention. So you'd think when the Times' restaurant critic Sam Sifton set out to write about the borough for this weekend's Travel section, he'd try to avoid the tropes Williams was mocking.
Well, here's a quiz: See if you can tell the real Times coverage from the fake. Some of the quotes below are from Sifton's latest--i.e. actually in the Times--and some are from Williams's parody. It's up to you to sort them out. Answers below.
1) "Parrots fly about and the wind ruffles the trees and that view of Manhattan opens up in the distance once more."
2) "There are young men and women wearing ironic glass frames on the streets."
3) "Eat pancakes and waffles in a room filled with tchotchkes and good cheer, and watch the marvelous parade."
4) "They are making grilled cheese sandwiches in the streets."
5) "There are open air markets, like trading posts in the early Chippewa tribe."
6) "Boutiques, coffee bars and restaurants continue to flourish in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, north Brooklyn's youth-culture Marrakesh."
7) "It's just fantastic. It's like Marrakesh over there."
1, 3, 6: Sifton
2, 4, 5, 7: Williams
Oh, New York Times! For a newspaper that's perpetually discovering parody, you're pretty good at parodying yourself.
UPDATE: Reached for comment, Sifton had this to say: "The story was not inspired by Mr. Williams's excellent and hilarious riff on Brooklyn. It was assigned to me ages ago. But when I wrote it, I included the line about north Brooklyn's youth-culture Marrakesh as tribute to him." Well done, Sam!