The New York Times Does Naples, Florida

by Chris Dixon

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Man, I love The New York Times’ 36 Hours travel articles, and not just because I’ve had the great honor of penning a few myself (like Charleston, SC, Laguna Beach, CA and Charlotte, NC). I love them in large part because I know how damned hard they are to write. It’s seriously terrific to visit a town – especially a watery haunt – on the Times’ dime, but composing a bona fide 36 Hours is equal parts pleasure and pain. You have to find, and talk to the right locals. You have to learn some history. You have to think about whether what sounds like a badass stop to you (like, say, going surfing, flounder gigging, or taking in a monster truck race) makes a lick of sense to Times readers. And you have make sure you don’t send readers halfway across town and then halfway back in the space of two hours.

It’s writing, reporting and carving out a chronological jigsaw puzzle all at the same time. And hovering over it all, is the knowledge of how heavily scrutinized your story will be by the locals. Because trust me, you’ll be hearing from them.

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In Sunday’s fine installment, Times’ writer Hannah Seligson gives Naples, Florida 36 of her hours (trust me again, she gave way more than that). “Naples,” she writes, “is, first and foremost, about the water — that calm expanse of the Gulf of Mexico, with waterways snaking into downtown via Naples Bay.”

I’m on my way. — CD

Read more on Naples at The New York Times. 

And check out The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada. From Taschen Books.

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