Times’ Revamped Friday Arts Section Takes Aim at Journal

The Times‘ Weekend Arts section has gotten reworked, and every move seems to take dead aim at The Journal‘s Greater New York section.

For starters, the Escapes section, which lost its stand-alone status last year and got lumped into the Friday Arts report, has been killed. The space it used to occupy—the second half of the Weekend Arts report—has been replaced by new wall-to-wall New York content.

The new New York content will be … servicey! In the section, Frank Bruni is writing a biweekly column on bars named—wait for it—the Tipsy Diaries. He apparently won’t be doing reviews, but rather, features on the the culture of bars, so the Boite column in the Styles section can breathe easy (Today’s column is about PJ Clarke’s bartenders).

Other content: There will be a 1,000-word feature on how to spend your weekends. There will be a weekly “house tour,” which we’ll let speak for itself. Sam Sifton will have a biweekly Q&A column with readers to field questions like where to have brunch (this will be lifted from the Diner Journal’s blog). There will be shorter features on new events: Lions Club at the Bronx Zoo!

The first big cover story for the revamped Weekend Arts report? It’s a Roberta Smith art review for a show at P.S.1 named … Greater New York.

Here’s the memo from Weekend editor Stephanie Goodman:

While the first part of the section will remain largely unchanged, the second section is being tweaked to better reflect the range of weekend activities that New Yorkers engage in. The focus will be on the city and its environs (within a couple hours’ drive).

The name “Escapes” will be retired and in its place will be new columns and features. At least one of these will start on the cover alongside our lively reviews by the art and book critics.

The mix of stories will include:

How to spend the day/evening: A feature in the 1,000-word range on nights out, daytrips, pastimes and other ways to get the most out of your weekend. The parties surrounding the gallery scene in Bushwick and Williamsburg, say, or how to teach your children to sail the Hudson.

The Tipsy Diaries: Frank Bruni with a biweekly column on places New Yorkers know well: bars. This won’t be a review so much as a look at the culture of bars.

Q&A: Need a good brunch spot to take your visiting aunt or a family-friendly restaurant that isn’t themed? Sam Sifton is here to help. He’ll answer reader questions in the other biweekly column taken from Diner’s Journal blog posts.

Short feature: An article in the 500-word range that focuses on a specific event or thing to do that weekend. A little-known reading series in SoHo with well-known actors and authors. The new lion cubs at the Bronx Zoo.

The Weekend Miser: A weekly column by Rachel Harris highlighting  a few events and activities that are free or nearly so.

Urban Athlete: From the hottest new rock-climbing gym in the city to gym classes like cardio tennis and pickup softball, a feature  that spotlights the sports/physical fitness activities we take part in.

House Tour: One week it will be a look at a weekend house for sale in the region, often at a very affordable price; on alternate weeks, it will be a look at someone who bought in a particular town and the advantages and disadvantages of that place for those seeking a weekend place.

Times’ Revamped Friday Arts Section Takes Aim at Journal