New York City
Eyewitness Travel Guide
Dorling & Kindersley – £14.99
Let it be said that New York City is perhaps the greatest city in the world.
Admittedly, I haven’t been to every (great) city, but so far as huge metropolises go; I spent the best part of ten years in the Big Apple, and it really does take some beating.
Rather like this New York City Eyewitness Travel Guide.
As regular readers of this Book Reviews Site may have surmised, I’ve written a number of Dorling Kindersley City Guides (Berlin, Amsterdam, Krakow to name but three) reviews, and I have to confess that all have something tantalizingly cultural and attractive to offer.
Suffice to say, a lot depends on the actual city itself, but so far as New York City is concerned, it’s a place that is fundamentally, all things to all men and women. So much so, I should imagine the compilation of this particular guide must have been one of two things. Either exceedingly easy to put together, or – due to the city’s density, enormity and complexity – exceedingly difficult to put together.
That it needs to be revised annually, makes me think that it might lean towards the latter somewhat.
That all fifteen areas of Manhattan are conveniently colour coded – which not only includes all the usual areas such as Greenwich Village, The Lower East Side and the Theatre District, but also Soho, Tribeca, Morningside Heights, Harlem and the Upper East Side – makes the book’s navigation all the more easy and convenient.
Along with an array of small, yet stunning photographs – including 3-D Aerial Views of the city’s most interesting districts – the guide is supplemented with a collection of relatively detailed maps, which in this particular edition, also includes a free pull-out map in the back cover). Where countless buildings of note are addressed, such as the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Centre, Carnegie Hall, the Chelsea Hotel (where, among other songs, Bob Dylan wrote ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands) and the Dakota Building, all are interestingly written about. The Dakota is addressed by the editors on page 218 for instance: ”[…]. It was New York’s first luxury apartment house and was originally surrounded by squatters’ shacks and wandering farm animals. Commissioned by Edward S. Clark, heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, it is one of the city’s most prestigious addresses […]. The Dakota’s 65 luxurious apartments have had many famous owners, including Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, and Boris Karloff, whose ghost is said to haunt the place. It was the setting for the film Rosemary’s Baby, and the site of the tragic murder of former Beatle John Lennon. His widow, Yoko Ono, still lives there.”
Likewise, the city’s countless museums (such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue and the Solomon R. Guggenheim at 1071 Fifth Avenue), more often than not, come replete with floor-plans.
There are literally pages and pages of ‘where to eat’ and ‘where to stay,’ a street finder section, sections on shopping and entertainment, as well as a really handy chapter on Practical Information – thus accounting for this New York City Eyewitness Travel Guide being highly recommended. So much so, I very much feel inclined to revisit all my old haunts..