Getting ready for a fall trip to New York City, I picked up this guide. It includes 155 brief (1-2 pages each) chapters on specific NYC structures, events, and individuals, giving historic background on their significance. Chapters include The Elevated Railway; St Paul’s Chapel; John Lennon’s Murder; Samuel J Tilden’s Gramercy Park home; Frederick Olmsted’s Greensward Plan; Great Fire of 1835; Washington Arch; Harlem Renaissance; Alfred E Smith; and so forth, including figures & events throughout New York City’s history. These features are then incorporated into one or more of the 14 Walking Tours, itineraries for viewing specific parts of the city, taking 1 -2 hours each.
This isn’t about where to stay or eat. It covers the standard first-time visitor attractions (Statue of Liberty; Empire State Building; Brooklyn Bridge) and so many others with brief, readable, meaninful background. I’ll be visiting with a teen and want to be able to pass on a bit of history here and there without being too obvious. The guide also makes quite interesting armchair touring independent of an actual trip.
Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City by Michelle Nevius & James Nevius (New York: Free Press, 2009)