Reader's Exchange

New York minutes

Orion/NYCJust back from my second-ever visit to New York City, I am suffering from mass-transit withdrawal and humming "Avenue Q" and "Billy Elliot" tunes.  We are blessed to have my husband's brother and sister-in-law (they'd attract hordes of visitors even if they lived somewhere uninteresting) situated just a couple of blocks from Times Square.  Not only that, they dispense kind advice on NYC navigation without making us feel like complete yokels. 

Still, I boned up on some local attractions and customs before this trip.  Checking out the usual suspects from the library--Fodor's, Insight, Blue Guide--was a good move; they effectively guided my selection of our what-to-see short list.  I've forgotten which book provided the Essential Cab Advice, but here it is because you should know:  tell cab drivers cross streets rather than addresses, and never select a cab driver who approaches you in the airport.

Sometimes, the best feature of a planned destination is the discoveries you make en route.  Propelled by rush-hour sidewalk traffic, I was seeking out a garment district address when the "Sposabella" sign caught my eye.  I'd read about it in The Curious Shopper's Guide to New York City: Inside Manhattan's Shopping Districts by Pamela Keech.  The store specializes in wedding veils and related finery, and celebrities patronize it.  Since (despite evidence to the contrary) I still consider NYC a mythical concept--not unlike flying First Class--spotting "Sposabella" and several other wonderfully specific shops that I'd first viewed in print was a treat.

Another can't-keep-to-ourselves discovery from this excursion is something you won't find in the library; it's more like a deck of cards than a book.  City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay was offered in museum gift shops in NYC, but you can also purchase it at Barnes and Noble and other local bookstores.  Handy-sized cards map out walking tours for various interests and different parts of the city.  Notes on the back spotlight features you might otherwise miss. 

I recommend City Walks for your own next trip or for a traveler's gift.  I also feel compelled to plug Pete Hamill's Forever (which is available at the library) as possibly the ultimate fiction choice about New York City.  And, with photos of Central Park and the Naked Cowboy on my phone and a Mood Designer Fabrics shopping bag on my arm, I am qualified to judge, don't you think?

Comments

positive said:

thanks for your insight. I never been in New York,but one day I hope to go and to see for myself. And I'll need not to forget about the cab drivers at airport,thank you for that,I'll tell to my friends to about that.

# November 17, 2009 4:26 PM

Shannon McIntire said:

I could have used that advice about cab drivers on my last trip to New York. A driver approached me as I was coming out of the airport and asked if I needed a cab. I did, so I said yes. I found myself following him past the line of people waiting for the yellow cabs and going into a dimly lit parking garage to an ominous unmarked black car. I balked at that and said I'd rather go back to the cab line. The driver assured me everything was okay and that he'd go get another passenger to share the ride with me. Once he left, I bolted back to wait in the regular line.

My New York friends later told me that I probably wasn't in any real danger but the unmarked cabs did not operate under the same regulations and so could have charged me anything (at that time, cabs had a set fair they could charge for rides from the airport into the city; still do, for all I know). Plus, if I shared a ride with someone we'd both be charged the same thing. All I know is I'll gladly wait in line from now on, thank you.

# November 20, 2009 11:23 AM
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