Brooklyn's just over the bridge but worlds apart from Manhattan, writes New Zealand Herald's Stephanie Holmes.

There was pizza, there was bowling, there was beer. Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island, and Williamsburg. Old-school gangsters and hot young hipsters. It couldn't be more American if it tried and yet, with all the classic sights and sounds on offer, a day in Brooklyn also provided a fresh take on this famous borough.

We were there for 12 hours only — a taster trip on a packed itinerary designed to make the most of our short time in New York City. So what can you do, see and learn about Brooklyn in half a day? Well, you'd be surprised.

"I want to show you things tourists can't find," says Paula, our guide on A Slice of Brooklyn's classic pizza tour. This 20-something Italian-American Brooklynite is everything you want from a tour guide: funny, informative and razor-sharp. And if you're worried about any awkward silences, don't be. Paula talks a mile a minute; perhaps even a mile a second. Clad in skinny jeans, black leather biker jacket and Ray-Bans, she's the epitome of understated Brooklyn cool, with enough goofiness to not be intimidating. And when she says she knows Brooklyn like the back of her hand, she's not kidding....

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