Thursday, May 18, 2006
They had both lived here previously, years ago, so they weren’t entirely inexperienced in the ways of the city. Still, even for those who have lived here before, finessing a move here can be challenging, and they’ve often impressed me with the ease with which they’ve made their transition. For one, they’ve shown tremendous resourcefulness in navigating the subway system, finding unique and efficient ways of getting from their out-of-the-way neighborhood in Brooklyn to various points around the city. They finally shared their secret with me: HopStop.com.
As with MapQuest, you just enter your starting and ending points, and the site generates detailed directions from point A to point B. It tells you how to get to the nearest subway station, the transfers you need to make, and how to walk from your subway stop to your ultimate destination. What if you don’t know the address of the Met? No problem; just type in “Metropolitan Museum of Art.” You can also use intersections, but the system won’t recognize a single street only (e.g., you must put in 14th St. & Avenue A” – not merely “14th St.”). You can use pull-down menus to select such preferences as whether to walk more and transfer less (or vice-versa), and whether to combine bus and subway options. You can also enter the day and time you’ll be making the trip and select a language for the directions (current options are English, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Swahili).
If you don’t like the route it suggests, just click “Reroute” and HopStop provides alternate directions. Or if you want to know how safe, clean, efficient, etc., the subway or bus line is, just click “Ratings” to get Zagat-like user reviews and tips. Once you have your route, you can text-message it, email it or print it. Other site features include the ability to generate an itinerary with multiple stops, maps, and guides to nearby attractions, shops and restaurants.
Even if you know the subway system like the back of your hand, HopStop.com is a great asset when you’re hosting the inevitable out-of-town visitor. Just text-message them an itinerary, and you may never get another desperate “OMG, we’re lost!” phone call again.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Being a city dweller doesn't negate an interest in the sporting life. New Yorkers are an active bunch, and
Turn here to find sports, fitness and recreation resources to indulge your physical side. I’ll update this as I come across new resources – and if you have any good local sports and recreation sites to recommend, please send them along!
For links to your favorite local pro teams, check out When You Need to Know: NY’s Professional Sports Teams.
NYC Parks Facilities: Where to Play, Practice & Watch
The New York City Parks system provides public facilities for a vast array of sports and recreation, from bocce courts to volleyball courts. Find the public places to play, practice or watch the sport or game of your choice with this searchable Parks Department guide.
Did you know that
A League of Your Own: Applying for Athletic Permits
If you're organizing a league of your own, you'll need to obtain an athletic permit to use the public parks facilities. Apply for a permit online, download applications for permits (Adobe Acrobat Reader required), and check out the usage guidelines for the public courts and fields at this Parks Department Web site.
Out of Bounds
Get a listing of
NYC SK8: The
This all-purpose overview of inline skating in the New York Metro area started out in 1994 as a mere FAQ and has grown into a useful guide to local inline skating. It features information on where to buy inline skates, a guide to local laws regulating the sport, a safety primer and more. My favorite feature is a handy neighborhood guide to the city’s best places for inline skating, which is thoughtfully written for the novice as well as experienced skater.
The Empire Skate Club
This non-profit membership-based association is “dedicated to having fun and improving the skating environment in
This group is a godsend for beginning skaters. I would never have learned to feel confident on hills without the patience and persistence of the Skate Patrol volunteer who taught me how to brake at the
The official Web site of the city’s self-proclaimed “#1 Tennis League” is a confusing mess in terms of design but, if you’re willing to scroll through its very long main page, you’re apt to find out everything you wanted to know about amateur tennis in
Get the lowdown on group classes, private lessons and tennis camps offered at the Har-Tru and hard courts located near the reservoir in
Riverside Clay Tennis Association
This citizen’s group saved the clay courts at
This home-grown site representing the hard courts at
Support tennis north of
Riding in NYC’s Parks
Each of the five boroughs offers public horseback riding trails in the city’s parks. While
Urban Cowboy: NYC Horseback Riding
If you want a glimpse into what riding in the city is really like before you venture out and try it for yourself, check out this article at Gorp.com, the Web site affiliated with Outside magazine. A first-person account by an experienced rider of various stables and trails in each of the five boroughs, it offers both a glimpse into the reality of riding in the metropolis and practical information on the stables. NOTE: You must complete the free Gorp.com site registration to access the entire article.
GoCityKids.com’s Guide to Horseback Riding in NYC
Get an overview of the stables and rates available around the city, plus kid-centric mini-reviews of each, as well as links to the stables’ Web sites.
Recommended All-Purpose Guide to Sports and Recreation in NYC
NY Sports Online
I’ll add more sports and recreation links to MsManhattan.net over time, but as much as I’d like to, it would be next to impossible for me to provide a comprehensive listing of sports and recreation opportunities in the city. And why should I, when New York Sports Online has done a fabulous job already? This site offers local sports and recreation news as well as localized guides and links to just about any athletic pursuit you can think of, from arm wrestling to volleyball.
Recommended All-Purpose Guide to Sports and Recreation in NYC
Whether you root for the Yanks or the Mets, the Giants or the Jets, the Knicks or the Nets,
The NY Yankees
The NY Giants
The NY Jets
Yeah, that’s what I said: Roller Derby. If the A&E reality show Rollergirls made you want to catch some of this action, you’ll be happy to know the metro area boasts two women’s leagues.
Comprising four local teams representing four of the five boroughs – Bronx Gridlock, Brooklyn Bombshells, Queens of Pain and Manhattan Mayhem – the Gotham Girls have bouts coming up this summer at The Schwartz Athletic Center at LIU-Brooklyn.
With three teams – The Wicked Wheelers of The West, The East End Ladies of Laceration and the Mid Island Rolling Thundercats – this Long Island-based women’s league will be competing through October in
Monday, May 08, 2006
In the weeks to come I'll add more neighborhood resources and create When You Need to Know posts on new topics, including The Sporting Life (sports and recreation), Manhattan 311 (city government), Getting Around (transportation and travel) and more.
Please post a comment if you'd like to request any specific topics or to share a link that you've found helpful.
Neighborhood Spotlights and Local Attractions
Spotlight on Midtown: One Night at the Plaza
An anchor on the northern edge of Midtown, the Plaza Hotel was the Grande Dame of New York luxury hotels. Established in 1907, its rooms overlooking
Greenmarkets: A Guide to Farmer's Markets in NYC NYC's Architectural Gems by Neighborhood
You probably already know about the popular Union Square Greenmarket (or Farmer's Market, as it's often called). But did you know
Tom Fletcher, a New York architect (by way of Australia), maintains this online library of photographs and notes about an eclectic range of the city's most architecturally interesting buildings; it's conveniently organized by neighborhood.
NYC's Architectural Gems by Neighborhood
Best Neighborhoods for Inline Skating
This handy neighborhood guide to best places for inline skating is thoughtfully written for the novice as well as experienced skater, noting such details as how the trees hanging over the sidewalks of Riverside Park make the ground "twiggy." Get the full rundown on all the best locales around
Manhattan Restaurants by Neighborhood
When you need a restaurant in a specific neighborhood, use this link to get New York Magazine’s listing of 1,861
The glossy’s Web site offers a number of handy neighborhood guides with detailed maps and write-ups on local shops, restaurants and attractions. Check them out before you head out.
Map No 5:
How Low Can You Go? (
Map No 2: The Bowery (
Map No. 9: State of the
Map No 4:
Map No 1: Lower-Middle-Upper
Map No 8:
Maps and Community Information
Plug your address into this interactive NYC Map Portal, and you can spend hours getting detailed information on your neighborhood, from the breakdown of your various districts (community, city council, school, etc.), census data and local services to a host of statistics such as crime rates, number of noise complaints and more.
This color-coded map demarcates where one
This map breaks the five boroughs down into their 59 official Community Districts. Click on any one to get a detailed view of the district, including niche neighborhoods (e.g., you’ll see not just the
The Oldest Known Map of
Watch this interactive computer animation reveal the development of the downtown
For a look at Manhattan long before the skyscrapers, check out this 1639 map, dotted with tiny farms, plantations and four Native American villages in what is now Brooklyn.