Our Favorite Unique NYC Guide Books

So you’ve already been to the Top of the Rock, sailed to the Statue of Liberty, and moseyed around the Met. Wondering what’s left to do in New York? Instead of turning to the typical guide book that will recommend the same ol’ tourist traps, why not crack open a more unusual guide? Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite offbeat NYC guide books that will turn your trip from typical to unique.

Secret New York: An Unusual Guide by T.M. Rives

If you’re looking for unusual activities to do around the city, Secret New York may be the guide book for you. Odds are you haven’t yet deciphered ancient riddles off of tombstones or tried to visit some of New York’s forbidden islands. These are only two of the many quirky activities to choose from within Secret New York’s 400 pages. With this guide, you’ll never be bored.

Off the Beaten (Subway) Track by Suzanne Reisman

It’s hard to find a NYC guide book that isn’t Manhattan-centric. Often, if they do mention attractions in the outer boroughs, they always list the same one or two things to see. Although Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, does have a hefty section of less-visited Manhattan attractions, it also supplements it with a few decently stocked lists of cool sites to see in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and even Staten Island. We can bet that you haven’t yet been to the Poppenhusen Institute or the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. See those sites and more with Off the Beaten (Subway) Track as your guide.

NYC Bouldering by Gaz Leah

New York City probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of extreme sports; however, reading NYC Bouldering by Gaz Leah will change your mind. Not only does this guide point out the city’s nearly hidden rock climbing boulders, it also explains the history tied to these sites. After rock climbing in Central Park, Fort Tryon, and Inwood Park, you’ll view New York City as more than a concrete jungle.

Quiet New York by Siobhan Wall

Keeping with the theme of breaking NYC stereotypes, Quiet New York will reveal a calmer side of NYC that you didn’t know existed. Discover a mix of gardens, cafes, museums, and cultural centers that will allow you to escape from the bustle of city life. The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in Upper Manhattan, Dred Scott Bird Sanctuary in the Bronx, and Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn are among the places featured in this surprisingly dense book of quiet spots. Be sure to check it out if Times Square has got your head spinning.

Silver-Wheeled City: New York by Bicycle & Camera by Kevin Dann

Our list of unique NYC guide books would be incomplete without mentioning Silver-Wheeled City: New York by Bicycle & Camera. Written by our very own tour guide, Dr. Kevin Dann, Silver-Wheeled City leads readers through nine highly descriptive, guided explorations through New York that all can be done by bike. By the end of your trip, you’ll have a deeper appreciation of both New York City and your bicycle.

Experience all that New York City has to offer, and make it easier on yourself by stopping in to rent a bike with Unlimited Biking.


New Year’s Eve in NYC at Times Square

Every year as the clock nears midnight on December 31, people feverishly await the new year with great expectations. Celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York City is a dream for many. There are so many options to choose from. You can pay tickets for rooftop parties, choose a more relaxed option or watching the ball drop at Times Square. We have a few tips and information for you if you plan to spend your New Year’s Eve at Times Square:

The right CLOTHING:

For many, Times Square is the number 1 destination to be for New Year’s Eve. If you like to celebrate in Times Square, you definitely need the right clothing. It is easy to underestimate how cold it’s going to be when standing for hours on end in the middle of winter. Even if the temperatures don’t seem very low, you’re going to be outside for quite a while. And usually the December in New York is very cold so don’t forget your warmest clothes and best shoes!


As we mentioned there are many people, which all want to celebrate at Times Square. So to handle everything you have to be there at least not later than 3 PM. The wait in line for the legendary ball drop begins actually at 12 PM and after 3 PM everything will be closed off. So the earlier you get there, the better the view. Be aware you could always leave your place, but can’t back in.


That means you should use the restroom beforehand. Unfortunately, there are no portable restrooms in Times Square and most restaurants will require you make a purchase in order to use their restrooms. And the bad thing is, if you leave to go use the bathroom during the wait for the ball drop, then you most likely won’t be able to get back to your hard earned viewing spot. And second: There are no food vendors in Times Square. With all of the people, there’s is simply no space for food carts. So we recommend to eat before or to pack little snacks, but make sure you don’t forget the next point on our list.


There are strict rules for bags, backpacks etc. Even medium-sized bags are not allowed and small ones are searched. So make sure, just to use a small bag or leaving the backpack at home.


Public drinking is illegal in New York also on New Year’s Eve. It is strictly prohibited and there will be plenty of police officers circulating in the area.
But if you know all these things, the ball drop and other festivities at New York’s Times Square make it to a great and unforgettable event with a lot of people singing and dancing around – be happy and celebrating a new beginning. There will be an awesome mood and many shed tears of joy.


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