One for the Road: Lonely Planet Encounters

I’ve got a friend visiting New York this week for the very first time, and in advance of her visit, I road-tested a few guides to see which might work best to use during her short stay. For the rest of this week, I’ll feature the NYC versions of several guidebook series. Consider this part-two of my previous I Love NY mini-book reviews.

First up is New York Encounter, the Big Apple edition of Lonely Planet’s new series of pocket guides that were launched in May. Geared for “urban adventurers seeking unique experiences” the books are for travelers who want to “rapidly immerse themselves in a city.” They were created in collaboration with travelers who seek info from locals in the know. Some short Q&A’s throughout the book showcase the diversity of personality and place that characterizes these guides: there are interviews with the guys behind the High Line, a pedicab driver originally from the Ukraine, a Brooklyn bodega owner and a curatorial assistant at MoMA.

The focus is on experience. There are limited accommodation suggestions, since the emphasis is on what you can do, and in a city like NYC, sleeping doesn’t really count for much. Organized by neighborhood, each section has maps that show places to eat, shop, drink, see and play. There’s a free pull-out map in the rear too, for when you don’t mind looking like a tourist as you plunge deeper into your encounter with the city.