Books, Culture, New York City
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The NYC Guidebook I’ve Been Looking For

View of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Visiting a city as vast, dense, and rich as New York can be intimidating. I often don’t make plans at all. Allowing myself to be swept up in its current usually works out. Yet after you’ve hit all the “must see” locations and revisited your friends’ favorite haunts it can be daunting to tap into the local feel of a global destination.

A new guidebook by travel writer Gigi Griffis offers fresh NYC tips by tapping into a diverse group of locals. New York City: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In features interviews with everyone from history geeks to outdoor adventurers.

It’s not quite a traditional guidebook. 10 Locals aims to help visitors look beyond the obvious destinations and “figure out how to find the quirkiest museums, the most delicious restaurants, and that hidden-away park with the best walking path.”

While everyone should experience Manhattan’s big tourist draws once, I especially appreciated the book’s outer borough suggestions. I couldn’t stop scribbling notes throughout my read and ended up with an entire itinerary for my next NYC trip!

Gigi was kind enough to share some insight on the making of the book.

Photo courtesy of Gigi Griffis

How did you choose the interview subjects?
The most important thing is to make sure I have a really interesting group with diverse interests. So if I have a couple foodies, I start looking for urban planners or architects, people who love theater or music festivals or comedy. I try to find people who can address a wide variety of interests.

“Pretty much any quirky thing you can imagine is hidden away somewhere in the city.”

I find these people either through my own networks (I lived in NYC for a year and a half), through friends, through my readers, and through online sources like blogs (bloggers usually have really interesting perspectives on their cities) or travel forums.

What were you surprised to learn about NYC?
It’s hard to be surprised at anything after you’ve lived in NYC yourself. Pretty much any quirky thing you can imagine is hidden away somewhere in the city. That said, I was delighted to discover the crazy Russian nightclubs, the spa located in a castle, and the beautiful, walkable cemeteries that the interviewees mentioned. I’d never heard of any of those things before.

What is one thing you would recommend everyone do in NYC?
The number one most recommended attraction in the book is the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free and you get a great view of the Statue of Liberty. A close second is High Line Park–the elevated park on an old rail line. And personally I think having some NY pizza and seeing a Broadway or off-Broadway show are absolute musts.

Summer on the High Line

What are you working on next?
NYC is my 7th guidebook in the 100 Locals series and I’m still having a lot of fun doing them, so next up is a 100-interview guide to Arizona and Colorado. I lived in CO for five years and I’m currently settled in northern Arizona, right near the Grand Canyon, starting my search for interesting interviewees.

Photo courtesy of Gigi Griffis

Thank you Gigi! If you read New York City: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In or have NYC recommendations to share we’d love to hear your thoughts!


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