Walking New York [Amazon link]

About:

See the best of New York with this streamlined, itinerary-driven guide, created in a handy, take-along format. Part of a brand-new series from National Geographic that showcases the world’s great cities, Walking New York is divided into the following sections:

The Whirlwind Tours section shows you how to see the entire city in a day or a weekend; what sights will interest kids most; plus, a hedonist’s tour that’s pure pleasure from dawn to midnight and beyond.

The Neighborhoods section of the book presents the city broken down into 15-odd itineraries that lead you on a step-by-step tour to the best sights in each of the city’s greatest neighborhoods—from Lower Manhattan and The Villages to Central Park, Harlem, and the Outer Boroughs.

Travel Essentials provides information on how to get to the city and how to get around, as well as hand-picked hotels and restaurants.

Each itinerary includes the following features:

Distinctly New York: Explore the city through 2-page features that showcase the quintessential aspects of the city, such as Ethnic Eating, Art Deco New York, and the Harlem Renaissance. Here you’ll get intriguing background information to help you understand why this city is one of the world’s greatest.

Best of: Specific thematic groupings of sights are described, such as beach getaways, historic homes & mansions, and jazz clubs.

In-depth: These spreads take a deep dive into a major museum or other sight—for example, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; the Met; and the Cloisters—providing step-by-step guidance on what to see and how to plan your visit.

Sidebars throughout give you the low down on shopping, eating, and going out on the town, and offer insider tips and interesting asides.

Hidden New York: A Guide to Places That Matter [Amazon link]

About:

Despite its innumerable tourist attractions, New York City still has many secrets, hidden in the most unlikely places. There is the Edison Hotel in Times Square, where magicians gather ‘round the Magic Table to socialize and compete. There is Hua Mei Garden in the Lower East Side, where elderly Chinese men meet to display exotic birds. And there is Sahadi’s in Brooklyn, where the culinary arts thrive, and New Yorkers go for just the right ingredients for a Middle Eastern meal. This book details thirty-two unusual locations such as these and enhances them by including a cluster of additional, related spots. Hidden New York shows you why these places matter and guides you through the historical and cultural significance of each one.

Many of them matter because of the opportunities they provide for socializing, such as the Empire Roller Disco in Brooklyn that attracts a community of skaters and the Cube sculpture on Astor Place, which is a meeting spot for homeless youth. Others matter because they are focal points for communities and the spaces are intertwined with how people share in each others’ lives. Still others have been lost, like the house under the roller coaster in Coney Island, made famous by Woody Allen in Annie Hall.

This book is not just about Manhattan, but covers all five boroughs in New York City. It is an invitation to visit, revisit, learn, and enjoy all that you didn’t know the city has to offer. It will show you what’s there, what used to be there, and why it will be there for years to come. The chapters, illustrated with appealing black-and-white photos, include first-person remembrances and commentaries from New Yorkers themselves. Each entry functions as a small travel essay, evoking how certain destinations are experienced. As a guide to the New York City that is less traveled, this unique book shows that some of the best places to visit are ones that you never even thought existed.

The Zinester’s Guide to New York City [Amazon link]

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The Zinester’s Guide to NYC is a top-to-bottom, on-the-cheap, warts-and-all exploration of the city that never sleeps. Whether you’re looking for scam-able coffee or  a place to grab a Japanese breakfast, art supplies, volunteer opportunities, or a 4-story Korean bathhouse, the ZG2NYC has it all. Anecdotal and opinionated,  the ZG2NYC has listings from over twenty New York-based zine publishers, toiling under the benevolent umbrella of Ayun Halliday (Chief Primatologist of The East Village Inky zine, author of No Touch Monkey!)  “The best way to experience the city is to really participate in it,”  Halliday says. “Why watch the parade when you can march in it? People should know that they can guest bartend, play bike polo in Sara Roosevelt Park, create a public park in a parking space on National Park(ing) Day, and submit the 5-minute movies they shoot on the boardwalk to next year’s Coney Island Film Festival.” Like our Portland guide, the pocket-size NYC book is divided into illustrated, user friendly sections (Bars! Pizza! Historic buildings! Veggie options! Open mics! Craft supplies! The keys to low-budget NYC romance!) that give up the goods for first-timers and native New Yorkers alike.

Stranger to the System by Jim Flynn

Stranger to the System: life portraits of a New York City homeless community [Amazon link]

About:

Collection of 20 biographies of homeless people living on the streets of New York City. Contains 89 photographs and 16 drawings by homeless artists.