Walk NYC, A Review

"So, how do you get around in New York without your truck?"
It's the question I get most often. It's an easy answer.
I walk.
And take mass transit - the subway mostly, but I will ride a bus on the odd occasion.
But walking makes up most of my movement through the city.

That's why I was excited when a colleague from my advertising days, and a Facebook friend to boot, heard that I had moved to NYC and wanted to tell me about a book her mom wrote (how cool is that?)

Walk NYC is published by The Suzy Guides and is co-written by Annie Coburn, a "travel chronicler who writes, takes photos and meets the people who live in the greatest cities on earth."
The book covers eight distinct districts on the island of Manhattan, including Little Italy, Chinatown, the East Village, the Lower East Side and Central Park.

The book is filled with maps, photos and charts called "Agendas" that lets the reader what they'll be seeing and its claim to fame.
Take, for example, the "Liberty Walk," which takes in Battery Park and the Financial District. It's also where a group of Dutch emigrants settled to start building "New Amsterdam," which of course would become the nation's largest (and most vibrant) city.

"The walk begins with a lively pageant of Battery Park and moves onto the somber contemplation of Ground Zero. Expect to see the most popular modern icons of the area, as well as historical sites that many tourists never discover. This is your insider reward, as this area of Manhattan mixes some of North America's oldest historic landmarks with some of its newest. All this history, old and new, conspires to unfold a fascinating and emotional walk."

And that passage really hit me as I took a train down to the Bowling Green station - the walk's suggested starting point - and followed along for 11 wonderful stops. I'd moved to a city that I was bound and determined to experience, but here was a book that was making it happen. Things I didn't know, like where to find Stone Street, the oldest paved street in the city, or the Fraunces Tavern and Museum, one of the few pre-Revolutionary buildings left in the city.

I've used Walk NYC to find great, tourist-free places to eat in Chinatown (the soup buns at New Green Bo are better than Joe's Shanghai, in my personal opinion Food Network), places to take wonderful treats home, like Little Italy's DiPalo Dairy for to-die-for Parmegiano Reggiano or Piedmonte Handmade Ravioli Company and places to get a history lesson, like at the Tenement Museum (see how immigrants really lived), the 9/11 Memorial and the Anthology Film Archives in the East Village.

The guidebook is a mix of history, education, architecture and places to get a meal, get a snack or dive into some serious dessert. 

It even has great tips and tricks, like how to hail a cab (not as easy as it looks), how to ride the subway and how to score free and discounted tickets to Broadway shows.
As the weather warms and winter blossoms into spring, Walk NYC will be in my messenger bag so I can continue to take full advantage of my adopted hometown.

The Suzy Guides are Annie Coburn, Suzy Vincens, Bernard Poisson, Zhu Xiaojian (Julia), Loren Bruckner, Kathy Biehl and Pat Bracken. The gang is currently working on Walk London and will be released in February in advance of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Like what you see and want to order? Contact Suzy Guides right here.


dolorah said...

Oh wow, that is fascinating. It's lucky you found that book. Its hard to know exactly where to start a tour of a city - especially one so large and famous. I'll have to remember the book if I ever get to see NYC.


Anonymous said...

I dream of visiting the Big Apple one more time. It was 1980 when I was there, on business, and had very little time for site seeing.

I should start buying lottery tickets.