We've developed quite a reference shelf of books on living in and touring New York. We've been putting them to good use. Here are the ones that we have been using:
City Walks with Kids: New York
This is a set of 50 cards each with an afternoon of activities to do and places to visit. Joey and Brian use this one when it is their turn to pick out what to do.
NY Metro Class Trip Directory
This book is supposedly geared toward teachers, Scout leaders, and homeschoolers. It has a lot of ads and gives a typical description for each location.
The Unofficial Guide to New York City
We've used the Unofficial Guides for other trips, and this one is good with fairly decent descriptions. Unlike other books in the Unofficial Guide series, it does not have suggested itenerary. It is also heavily weighted toward touristy information (hotels, basic info).
Frommer's NYC Free & Dirt Cheap
If you're moving here on a postdoc budget, this is an awesome book. It has a great listing of things you can do "for not much money." It will get you thinking about other ways to have fun on the cheap. Plus, before you move here, it gives you something to look forward to -- there are plenty of entries about food. Personally, that is very important to me!
Inside New York 2008
This book has good descriptions of neighborhoods and what the nightlife and cultural activities are like in each area. The maps in the book aren't particularly helpful since nearly every block is covered up with stars. It will tell you what the "don't miss" spots are for each neighborhood.
The Best Things To Do In New York: 1001 Ideas
This is the book that will get your appetitie wet for your visit or move. It lists things to do by topic (The Classics, Eating & Drinking, etc.). The book is a list of activities with a description of each. All 4 of us looked through this book and checked off the things that we wanted to do...we are working our way down the list.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide
This book will give you a thousand reasons why you have to go to the Met and help you know what you are looking at. If you have to ask why do I want to go to Met? or What is the Met?, don't worry about it -- just stay home.
Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to and Living in New York City
Relocating to New York City and Surrounding Areas
If you are moving to New York and not jsut visitng, we found these to be helpful. In particular, Relocating has good data, graphs and tables about neighborhoods in the City. Newcomber's Guide has better coverage of mundane things like groceries, cleaners and such.
Time Out New York
This magazine is a lot of fun to read, plus it looks like it lists every event in the City. They also cover neighborhoods, shopping, etc. From the recent issue: "Are you feeling cultural or kick-ass?"
Frankly, this is a little out of out league price and culture wise, but it is still fun to read what people who can afford to do actually do. They are the ones with the idea for a dinner of cheap dumplings.
NFT: Not For Tourists: New York
Get this book! This has tons of information in it -- everything from where the post offices and bookstores are to neighborhood maps, a subway map, information about colleges in the city. Tim says to get it!! Peggy can not make a recommendation because she hasn't been able to read it since Time brings it to work everyday. Even if you are just interested in learning about New York, get this book!
The Entertainment Book
Peggy got this from Rozanne as a birthday present, and we've been looking at it since she turned 40! It has the discounts and 2 for 1 coupons that most entertainment books have. We are looking forward to using it!
There are two maps we really like. One is a fold-up subway map that looks like a MetroCard (the subway pass) sponsored by Chase bank and the other is the Popout Map made by Compass Map Group (but we think it is out of print). Real subway maps are free once you get in to the City at most kiosks and they work just as well, but the coolness factor isn't there!