NYC & Company runs the Official NYC Information Center at 810 Seventh Ave. (at 53rd St.), New York, NY 10019. You can call tel. 800/692 8474 to request the Official NYC Guide detailing hotels, restaurants, theaters, attractions, events, and more. The guide (and a New York City map) is free and will arrive in 7 to 10 days. You can also download it online on the company’s website, www.nycgo.com, where you will find a wealth of free information. To speak with a live travel counselor, call tel. 212/484-1222, which is staffed weekdays from 9am to 6pm EST, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm EST.
For visitors from the U.K., the NYC & Company office is located at Colechurch House, 1 London Bridge Walk, London, SE1 2SX (tel. 020/7367-0900). You can download or order the Official NYC & Company visitor guide online at www.nycgo.com.
You can find a list of Frommer’s travel apps at www.frommers.com/go/mobile.
Downtown -- For those New Yorkers who live Uptown, lower Manhattan is practically a different planet, but one which has much to offer. The website for the Alliance for Downtown New York (www.downtownny.com), updated daily, is a trusty source to keep abreast on new developments and exciting downtown events.
Visiting the Lower East Side -- The Lower East Side Business Improvement District operates a neighborhood visitor center at 54 Orchard St., between Hester and Grand streets ([tel] 866/224-0206 or 212/226-9010), that's open weekdays from 9:30am to 5:30pm and weekends from 9:30am to 4pm. Stop in for a GO EAST! shopping and restaurant guide (which you can also download online or request in advance), plus other information on this historic yet freshly hip 'hood. You can also find shopping, dining, and nightlife directories at www.lowereastsideny.com.
For Bus & Subway Information -- For additional transit information, call the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s MTA/New York City Transit’s Travel Information Center at tel. 718/330-1234. Extensive automated information is available at this number 24 hours a day, and travel agents are on hand to answer your questions and provide directions daily from 6am to 10pm. Customers who don’t speak English can call tel. 718/330-4847. For online information that’s always up-to-the-minute, visit www.mta.info. Note: The MTA’s website has been completely revamped, and it is surprisingly good. I would use it as often as possible in lieu of the telephone. To request system maps, call the Map Request Line at tel. 718/330-3322. Riders with disabilities should direct inquiries to tel. 718/596-8585; hearing-impaired riders can call tel. 718/596-8273. For MetroCard information, call tel. 718/330-1234, or go online to www.mta.info/metrocard.
You can get bus and subway maps and additional transit information at most information centers. A particularly helpful MTA transit information desk is located at the Times Square Information Center, 1560 Broadway, between 46th and 47th streets, where you can also buy MetroCards. Maps are sometimes available in subway stations (ask at the token booth), but rarely on buses.
Going to the Blogs
It was just a few years ago that blogs were something only guys in their pajamas did at home. Not any more. Now, some established, not to say august, institutions have blogs, and I suspect there will be even more after this book goes to press. Some, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have blogs for special exhibitions only. Some, like the Museum of Jewish Heritage, have ongoing blogs. These blogs often provide a way for the very learned and talented curators to dispense their insights and knowledge in a manner they simply could not before the advent of blogs. They also provide you a way to learn more about an institution you visited and fell in love with and to stay in touch. I’ve noted a few in this guide, but you may want to poke around on a website to see if they’ve gone to the blogs.
Blogs About New York City -- The world, it seems, is divided into two sorts of blogs. First, the blatantly commercial type in which advertising plays a very prominent role. It’s very difficult to determine the objectivity of those blogs. Second is the ultra-personal blog—“Tom’s New York From My Manhole” sort of blog in which the blogger often uses the blog as an excuse to rant about how his landlord hasn’t fixed his bathroom sink despite 17 phone calls in 2 days. We want to spare you all that. But we do have a solid recommendation for you, and this is our own Brian Silverman’s blog, Fried Neck Bones . . . and Some Home Fries (also known as “Adventures in Chow City”). Brian writes all the restaurant reviews for Frommer’s New York City. But being adventurous and a lover of the city and hungry, he set himself the mission of finding great food at low prices in often out-of-the-way places. Décor is not always the prime attraction; the food is. So if you want to see what’s good to eat in some of the lesser-known and lesser-traveled-to parts of our great city and have a terrific little romp, you couldn’t have a better guide than Brian’s blog: http://friedneckbones.wordpress.com.
Brave New World: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the Rest -- It’s not just your teenager who uses Facebook, YouTube, or the many new forms of social media to communicate with one another. New York’s finest museums, for example (not to mention restaurants, sports teams, and Broadway shows), have their own Facebook pages and tweet on Twitter and even post on YouTube. They simply have recognized that these media have become the ways they can spread the word about their attraction. Which means, of course, that you can join their pages, or follow their tweets, to see what’s happening at their houses. I have to admit, though, that it’s a bit strange to see an ad for “AARP Medicare Supplement” on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Facebook page. Still, there’s much to recommend. The Met’s FB page (www.facebook.com/metmuseum) is appealingly informal yet chock-full of good stuff. I especially like their YouTube page (www.youtube.com/metmuseum). Here, for instance, you might see and hear the head of the museum, Thomas Campbell, talk about the discovery of a Velázquez in the museum’s collection, with two senior curators standing next to him spelling out the details. Most people have no idea who runs the Met, much less what he looks and sounds like. YouTube posts also elaborate on current exhibitions, which can mean interviews with the artist whose work is on display. Note: Sometimes these media can be hard to find on an institution’s website; that’s the case with the New-York Historical Society, for example. Its terrific podcasts are buried in a hard-to-find “Media Center” section of their website. It’s almost as if some of these institutions are parents who haven’t come to terms with a child who has gone Goth. Use the site map.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.