Two 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.
The 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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