You can now take a self-guided literary walking tour of Brooklyn

Visit important literary landmarks inspired Patti Smith, Biggie Smalls and others.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
Brooklyn brownstones
Photograph: Shutterstock

It's one thing to read about Brooklyn and yet another thing to visit the landmarks that have turned it into the stuff of literary legend.

A new audio tour by the Brooklyn Public Library seeks to explore the lives of the characters and authors that call the borough home in fiction and in real life. From Patti Smith to Biggie Smalls, Howard Zinn to Tanwi Nandini Islam, the guide covers a total of 16 writers over eight miles of Brooklyn. You can also expect to stop at important public libraries the likes of Washington Irving and Clinton Hill, which, according to an official press release, "played an important role in the lives of the featured author[s]."

Expect the entire tour, which can virtually start off from anywhere in Brooklyn, to take at least two hours to complete, depending on how many stops you wish to make along the way. 

There are two ways to participate. Folks can either download the Otocast app on their phones and search for "BPL" or opt for the browser version of the tour, which can be found right here.

Either way, expect text, images and audio narrations to pepper your journey. 

Among the notable addresses you can stop at: 175 Carlton Avenue, Richard Wright's home during the writing of Native Son; 160 Hall Street in Clinton Hill, the one-time residence of Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe; the Brownsville Library, a childhood destination for writer Alfred Kazin; and 1328 Putnam Avenue, where Jacqueline Woodson went to elementary school.

Of course, every book mentioned on the tour is available for checkout at most Brooklyn Public Library branches. Here's a full list of them.  

One more note: whether you decide to enjoy the self-guided walk, we suggest you add every single tome that is part of the experience to your must-read list. They are all quintessential New York books, after all.

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