105 Ways to Give a Book

New York City Travel Guides

I never take a trip without consulting some sort of written word about the destination. Sometimes an Internet search will suffice, but when exploring New York City for two weeks, a person needs a travel guide. And having investigated the choices over several trips, I can recommend two titles that you can carry with you. And that carrying is important, as many guidebooks spend precious pages describing the hotels of the area, but once you’ve arrived at your travel destination those pages are dead weight. Personally, I’m also not much of a foodie and tend to skim over the next hundred pages of restaurants I won’t go to. So these all-purpose travel guides are worthless to me as they don’t provide the one thing I really need: easily accessible information in a concise volume.

Moon Metro: New York CityTwo years ago I found a used copy of Moon Metro: New York City, and after enjoying it for several trips am loving it enough to purchase a newer edition. This book is perfect for the traveler on the go in New York. Each section of the city is broken down with a short description on a two-page spread. Open those pages for an easy-to-read map of that area and a key to important points of interest. For just a quick look at the streets, you’re only discreetly opening one fold, instead of struggling with a huge, tourist-indicating map. The second half of the book includes quick summaries of top sites, restaurants, shops, amusements, and hotels. You won’t get the detail, descriptions, and pricing listed in bigger books, but that’s what the Internet is for.

Frommer’s New York City Day by DayThe second book I tried out on this trip was Frommer’s New York City Day by Day, which I had received for free at Book Expo America. Again, a small book with the focus being on the city, not on hotels and the logistics of getting there. The front cover folds out to cover the two biggest sections of New York — Downtown and Midtown/Uptown — with streets, subway lines, and major places of interest. A larger, sturdy fold-out map is included to cover the rest and give more detail. Personally, I didn’t carry the book around every day, but I sure kept this map with me at all times. The focus of this title was to break down the city not only into neighborhoods to visit, but into other ways to tour — like by greatest buildings, best walks, or famous film sites. The descriptions of sites are brief, but fleshed out with addresses, prices, and hours of operation.

I found that the subway information in both books was tightly squeezed, making it hard to read — especially for a subway newbie like myself. I recommend supplementing with the huge map you can get from any of the stations. The map is geared toward displaying the subway stops accurately, and as such often distorts the streets in a way that they are not to scale, but it certainly lays out a lot of useful information. I got two and cut one down to only show the Manhattan info, making it easy to carry in my purse.

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The Pen and Ink Blog said...

I love New York. Have a wonderful time. There is a magic statue in Gramercy Park. 20th Street between Third Avenue and Park Avenue It's a smiling sun/moon. You can't get in to the park but you can see it from the outside.

Melissa said...

Travel Guide = City Maps. That is literally all you need to find out ANYTHING!