Despite all these lovely Internet resources and wanderlust blogs I read on a daily/hourly/minutely basis, I still carry a guidebook or two with me when I’m on the road. It just makes sense, you know? Plus they smell nice. Like new plastic and extravagant expenditures.
So here’s what I read to psyche myself up for the Big Apple.
I won this book through a Twitter contest, and thought it was some divine miracle of god because I had just made plans for TBEX in New York City. I thought my life was going to change, and in some ways it did, but not by the forces I wanted. Anyway, this is a fantastic resource: lots of practical info, gorgeous glossy photos, and tons of insider tips to get you around the city efficiently.
My only qualm is that it’s not really made for the budget traveller. I’m also a little bitter than I wrote out a full list of activities I wanted to do, stuck it inside my guide, and left it on the damn airplane in my excitement of landing in the city. For shame.
I was a little wary about reading this book; I’m not a huge history buff, and I find most North American history to be tedious and boring. On the first hot summer day in St. John’s, I took this book outside on the back deck and started reading it while tanning. I finished the whole thing in nearly one sitting.
The great thing about Chronicles of Old New York is that it doesn’t avoid all the less flattering, sketchy details of New York’s history. I think my favourite part of the book was Thomas Edison’s discovery of electricity, and the landmark moment when he lit the entire city. If I had a time machine, I’d go back for precisely that event.
The book only confirmed what I had thought all along: NYC is the epicentre of the world. Brush up on your history before you get there.