Book Review: The Independent Guide to New York City 2016

Independent Guide To New York City 2016 Top

The Independent Guide to New York City 2016 is the ideal guidebook for travellers on a budget

If you’re planning a trip to New York City this year, there are plenty of guide books on the market to help you plan your visit. From detailed travel guides such as Lonely Planet and Time Out, to pocket books such as Rough Guides and DK Eyewitness’ Top 10, there are lots of different options to choose from. One guide certainly worth checking out is the Independent Guide to New York City 2016.

Priced at £4.99 for the paperback edition and just £1.99 for Kindle edition, The Independent Guide to New York City 2016 is the ideal guide book for travellers on a budget. Written by a ‘New York City insider’, this 188 page guide has all you need to know about the city that never sleeps, from popular attractions and seasonal events to dining options and accommodation.

What makes The Independent Guide to New York City 2016 different to other guidebooks on the market (particularly those published by bigger publishing houses) is that the book is updated throughout the year and printed on demand. This means that when you buy the guide, you will receive the latest published version. This is particularly handy if you intend to use the book to find out about a particular attraction or event, such as a Broadway show, which may have changed or closed by the time other print books have been published.

At first glance, there are plenty of things to like about The Independent Guide to New York City 2016. There are 12 main chapters in the book, including:

Independent Guide To New York City 2016• History – A look back through time to see how the ‘Big Apple’ has changed
• New York City Today –  An overview of the city’s layout, weather, food, customs and etiquette
• Transportation – Details regarding the subway, bus system, local and express trains, cabs and cycling.
• Getting to NYC – How to get to the city including transfers from airports, trains and buses
• Accommodation – Accommodation options for travellers from luxury hotels to rent-a-room
• Top 10 Can’t Miss Spots – 10 of the best things to do and places to visit
• City Guides – With detailed sections on 21 neighbourhoods, including Harlem, Brooklyn and Staten Island
• Shopping – A list of department stores, luxury shopping areas and everything in between.
• NYC Nightlife – Top locations to spend an evening out from bars and clubs to music venues and Broadway theatre
• Seasonal Events – A list of unique events including Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Summer Movie Series in Central Park
• Maps – Custom designed maps of NYC’s boroughs and Manhattan’s different neighbourhoods

The book is well laid out, easy to read and packed full of useful information. In addition to the short description about the venue, it also lists the address, phone number, entry prices, opening hours and nearest subway stops for each listing. The section on NYC customs and etiquette is particularly useful as it explains the ‘unspoken rules’ regarding elevator etiquette and tipping. The chapter on NYC’s transport system is also helpful with a handy section on how to understand subway map.

The largest section of the guide is dedicated to the ‘City Guides’ with more than 100 pages in this section. Divided into 21 sub-sections, each of which cover a different neighborhood area, this section boasts a brief description of the neighbourhood including its history and population, as well popular attractions, dining listings (including the best take-out) and accommodation options. The nightlife section is worth checking out, with an impressive 9 theatre shows listings (always a bonus in my book) along with the theatre address, contact details and nearest subway stops.

Size-wise, the book’s dimensions of 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9cm mean it is not as compact as some of the other guidebooks on the market but on the plus side, it is relatively slim and lightweight so should be easy enough to slip into a backpack or suitcase. The fact that it is available as a Kindle edition also makes it extra appealing as you can download the guide onto your iPhone or tablet device to read whilst on the go.

I only have two criticisms what are worth a mention. The first is that the custom designed maps at the back of the book are difficult to see and very basic. If you’re planning on exploring the different districts and streets, I would certainly recommend investing in a more detailed map.

My second criticism relates to the black and white photos in the paperback version of the guidebook.  The publisher claims this is because of print costs, and while I understand that they wish to keep the books as affordable as possible, I still would have preferred the option to order a colour version at a slightly higher price.

That said, for the price, The Independent Guide to New York City 2016 is one of the best travel guidebooks I have seen on the market. A worthy contender when searching for your next travel guide.

4 out of 5 stars

The Independent Guide to New York City 2016 is available to order from Amazon and is priced at £4.99 for the paperback version and £1.99 for the Kindle version.