This week’s One for the Road suggestions start and end with mentions of Moon guides. Today it’s another NYC guide, since this is my home-base (and where I usually try out different guidebooks when friends come to visit.) This week my pal Eszter, from Hungary, is visiting NYC (and the US!) for the very first time. Upon her arrival earlier this week I gave her several guidebooks as reference, since I wasn’t going to be able to show her around that much.
Of all the NYC guides I’ve looked at recently, I recommended the Moon Metro NYC guide as my favorite choice for Eszter’s sightseeing needs. The flip-out map feature of this guidebook series is what really sets it apart from the rest. The first half of the book contains a series of ten glossy fold-out maps that cut Manhattan into size-able chunks. Descriptions of sights, along with some tips and basic historical background, make up the second half of the book.
Different guides serve different purposes, and Eszter agreed that this one would work best for her quick four-day jaunt through NYC. She already had a good idea of what she wanted to see and do, so she wasn’t really looking for ideas. But what she did need was a good navigator, and Moon’s “Unfold the City” guide helped her do just that.
We haven’t really talked much about the Slow Food movement here at Gadling — we leave that to the experts, our friends over at Slashfood. But it’s worth a mention, especially now, while I’ve got this great Slow Food Guide to NYC in my hands!
Founded in Italy in 1986, Slow Food is an international movement dedicated to preserving regional cuisine and products from around the world, while also advocating for sustainability and biodiversity in the food supply. The NYC guide is organized first by “cuisines”, then by “special foods & nightlife” and finally by “food shops, markets and producers.” The listings in each section highlight establishments throughout the city that serve food in line with the Slow Food mission. My mouth is watering with slow food goodness…ya gotta love a book with special “tribute” sections devoted to delectables like pickles, tamales, smoked fish and New York Cheesecake!
Other books in this series are Slow Food Guides to Chicago and San Francisco. None of these guidebooks are brand new, so you may run into some outdated info. But they’re still plenty useful for travelers looking to savor slowness while eating their way through these cities. Bon Appetite!
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.
Of all the books I’ve mentioned during this week’s I Love New York series, this is the one I’ve enjoyed using the most, but not nearly as much as I’d like to. There’s really no good excuse, but I’ll blame it on winter weather.
All the suggested hikes featured in Moon’s Take a Hike New York City are located within two hours of Manhattan by bus, train or car. Skip Card has gathered a great selection of hiking options that stretch out in all directions: Fire Island’s Otis Pike Wilderness, the Staten Island Blue Trail, the Shawangunks in Ulster County, and thirteen sections of the New York Appalachian Trail. There are also 15 New Jersey hikes and suggested walks in Central Park, the Botanical Garden’s Native Forest and Jamaica Bay’s Wildlife Refuge.
The handy cross-reference section highlights the best hikes for kids and those with interests like bird-watching, geology and history. I used this book to navigate four hikes last fall — two near Ringwood in western New Jersey, and two in the western Hudson region. I agree with Card’s pick of the Norvin Green Crest Loop as one of the best for variety and high peaks. His description of the Ringwood Manor Loop provides a nice overview of the estate’s history. And all the other entries offer more of the same, including clear directions for finding trail heads and those all-important hints for picking the best lunchtime pit-stops.
Looks like I’m not the only one with a New York City state of mind this week. The Telegraph recently introduced a new weekly online travel guide, and this week’s featured city is the one and only NYC. The colorful six-page PDF guide contains their top five picks for hotels, restaurants and city sites.
And while the Telegraph guide focuses on more high-end and lux attractions like night clubs and shopping, another new online NYC resource out this week from National Geographic Traveler offers up the exact opposite — a fun list of completely FREE Things to do in NYC. This extensive list of links includes calendar info for cultural events throughout the city, as well as park and outdoor activity suggestions. Just in time for the nice weather…
I’ll also use this opportunity to remind you about one of Gadling’s favorite online guides to NYC, the ever-informative NewYorkology we mention from time to time — clearly the resident experts in the study of this great city of ours.
I’ve got one more New York guidebook suggestion coming up tomorrow as part of this week’s I Love New York One for the Road tribute. It’s a perfect selection for weekend activities in and around NYC. Get your boots on…