3 out of 4 stars
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Where can you see cats, dogs, llamas, goats, and elephants march down a church aisle? Which ice cream parlor packs 10 or more flavors into a $6.25 cone? Where can the whole family sail past the Statue of Liberty for free? How can you compete for $10 tickets to Broadway shows? These are just a sampling from the 23 attention-grabbing trivia questions at the beginning of New York Linked Up Part 1: Manhattan 2019: Your Forever Travel Guide on Your Phone by author Colleen Katz.
As promised in the title, the author provides an exhaustive list of resources at readers' fingertips in her sixth travel guide which features hundreds of linked entries for travelers headed to explore Manhattan. The book begins with brief directions for using the guide and its content which will remain current since the listings are linked online. The 20 chapters are organized by monthly events, points of interest, location, cost, and "what you need to know" sections. There is an entire chapter devoted to "Freebies," plus money-saving tips for everything from different hotel options, restaurants, bars, concerts, museums, and theater tickets. The author provides in-depth details for the best ways to get around town depending on your destination and covers the most economical options for MetroCards and train tickets, as well as walking, bike, bus, ferry, and helicopter tours. Also included are listings for historical churches, architecture, breathtaking gardens, tips for photographers, and the best places to take--or not take--the kids. Additionally, the author alerts readers to safety precautions and common scams. The book concludes with the answers to the trivia questions at the beginning of the book and also provides the addresses, websites, and directions for the attractions featured.
What I like most about this book is its comprehensive content. The author obviously loves the city and certainly did her research. Though I'm not one to travel much, there are two reasons this book especially appeals to me. First, I'm a planner, and second, I would definitely apply the author's money-saving tips. On a previous trip to Manhattan with my brother and oldest daughter, we could have really used a handy guide like this. I also appreciate that the book is quite user-friendly. With a single tap, information truly is at your fingertips. Additionally, many of the beautiful linked websites are enough to evoke wanderlust on their own--not to mention the abundance of restaurants featuring appetizing photos. To top it all off, are the author's tried and true tips that she's learned from experience. For instance, in reference to the rooftop bar, The View, she suggests, "To avoid the $8 cover charge, order drinks before 8 PM." Then, when recommending the mid-size ice cream cone from Amorino Gelato, "If the server asks how many different flavors you want, say at least 9. From lots of visits, I can tell you that the more different flavors you choose, the more ice cream you will get." Equally if not more important, is her list of public restrooms beginning with the one she describes as "NY's one-of-a-kind superb public bathroom with fresh flowers, classical music, and perfumed soap." Who knew? The guide is jam-packed with comparable nuggets of wisdom.
The only thing I disliked about the book was an inconsistency in the text color. Most of the entries were displayed with black text for the venue's name, address, phone number, and general information. If the attraction was free or included other special features, it was displayed in red text, while the links were underlined blue. This formatting was easy to read at a glance, accentuating both the special features and the links. However, there were random pages that were entirely in blue. Sometimes there might be two pages of all blue text consecutively; other times there were as many as five. Not only was this hard on the eyes, but when there was also underlined text that wasn't meant to be linked, it required several taps to locate the actual link. There were enough all blue pages that I found it distracting, as I feel travelers will as well.
Furthermore, though there were only a handful of grammatical errors, I noted too many broken (non-working) links to overlook. Therefore, as much as I liked the comprehensive content contained in the book, I am unable to give it a perfect rating. The author's disclaimer near the beginning of the book mentions the dilemma followed by "Beats me," which I find lacking. Since the book includes so many functional links, a better solution would be to omit those that aren't able to be corrected. I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. However, editing the broken links and pages of blue text would easily bring it to the full four stars. I recommend it to readers who enjoy traveling especially those anticipating a trip to Manhattan.
New York Linked Up Part 1 Manhattan
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