The WADS conference in Brooklyn was held at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, in Metrotech Center, but I stayed at the nearby Aloft Hotel, a new boutique hotel next door to and owned by the Sheraton, and was quite happy there. All I really need in a hotel is a clean comfortable bed, a bathroom with a hot shower, and internet, and they provided all three; the internet was a bit tricky to sign onto but once on it worked well. The hotel has two bars, one in the lobby and one on the 24th-floor rooftop patio; the top one has better views and a better drink selection, but the bottom one has friendlier bartenders, a free pool table, less noise, and the ability to charge drinks to your room, so I think it wins. And the hotel staff were quite helpful in providing recommendations for local places to eat nearby (my favorites: Ki Sushi on Smith Street, Saul on Smith Street, and the Chip Shop on Atlantic).
Metrotech itself is corporate and slick and boring and safe, decorated with art that is corporate and slick and boring and safe. Examples: a manhole with an alligator's head rising out of it, and a smooth brushed-aluminum sheep. But the few blocks between the Aloft and Metrotech are funkier and more interesting. In particular, along Willoughby Street there's a block of shops called the Willoughby Windows, made vacant by a failed redevelopment project, that have been taken over by a collective of street artists, some local and others more widely known (e.g. Jef Aérosol and Ron English). So, while I was there, I took a few photos of the art.
A bit of a technical challenge was presented by the fact that most of the pieces in this group are behind glass, and not well lit. I took a couple of the photos of the illuminated ones at night, which allowed me to shoot them head-on without worrying too much about reflections. But for the daytime shots, that was impossible. I ended up shooting most of them at an angle to eliminate my own reflection, and making the reflected street scenes into parts of the composition rather than trying to downplay the reflections.