Zinester's Guide to NYC

Zinester's Guide to NYC

by Ayun Halliday

Society of American Travel Writers Guidebook Award Winner! In the tradition of our DIY city guide The Zinester's Guide to Portland, we're proud to announce our brand-new New York City version! The Zinester's Guide to NYC is a top-to-bottom, on-the-cheap, warts-and-all exploration of the city that never sleeps. Whether you're looking for scam-able coffee or  a place to grab a Japanese breakfast, art supplies, volunteer opportunities, or a 4-story Korean bathhouse, the ZG2NYC has it all. Anecdotal and  opinionated,  the ZG2NYC has listings from over twenty New York-based zine publishers, toiling under the benevolent umbrella of Ayun Halliday (Chief Primatologist of The East Village Inky zine, author of No Touch Monkey!)  “The best way to experience the city is to really participate in it,"  Halliday says. "Why watch the parade when you can march in it? People should know that they can guest bartend, play bike polo in Sara Roosevelt Park, create a public park in a parking space on National Park(ing) Day, and submit the 5-minute movies they shoot on the boardwalk to next year's Coney Island Film Festival.” Like our Portland guide, the pocket-size NYC book is divided into illustrated, user friendly sections (Bars! Pizza! Historic buildings! Veggie options! Open mics! Craft supplies! The keys to low-budget NYC romance!) that give up the goods for first-timers and native New Yorkers alike. Download a song done in tribute to ZGNYC contents!

 

Comments

Riot 77 10/17/2011

Appealing and user-friendly for the eagle-eyed punk rocker.

Brain Pickings 8/28/2011

In the age of crowdsourcing and digital everything, it's a delightfully analog, painstakingly curated tour of all the things that make the Big Apple a cross-cultural icon.

Bust Magazine 8/5/2011

This guide has everything a BUSTy reader could possibly want and more! From tons of usually unlisted vegetarian/vegan options to random advice like "grabbing subway maps to use as wrapping paper," It's definitely a favorite now. Each suggestion feels like a personal friend telling you about something awesome, with pros and cons that are usually spot on.

Ink 19 5/16/2011

"If you're in the market for a no-bullshit guide to New York City, Ayun Halliday's got your number, kitten. Nevermind Fodor's, with its slippery, skinny pages and cliché vacation photos that you might just as well take yourself while enjoying a poser breakfast at Veselka. Zinester's Guide to NYC: The last wholly analog guide to NYC packs a crapload of inside information into its 256 pages, and for your nine bucks you even get artsy illustrations (we call them comics) from DIY folks like Becky Hawkins (French Toast Comix), Carrie McNinch (You Don't Get There From Here), and The Queen Heiner herself, Ayun Halliday (East Village Inky).

But don't get the idea that because it's not slippery, it's not slick. The guide lists the addresses, websites, and drawing points of all of the best places -- and damn, this scoop is useful. Halliday's description of The Sock Man, for instance, contains this little tip: "You can get the striped socks favored by Trixie the Deadwood hooker and myself at cheap chains like Strawberry and Forever 21, but there's a certain Zen symmetry to buying socks from a vendor who sells nothing but." Who doesn't love that sadsack whore and want to dress like her?! Now where am I going to get my next pair of hooker socks? Yeah. The Sock Man. All of my favorite places are here -- every H&M and Ricky's in the city, Pearl River Market, the aforementioned Veselka, Beacon's Closet, where I once purchased the best tank top ever made while listening to three pretty clerks discuss their GRE scores, and Otto's Shrunken Head, which I'm not even going to tell you about because you just need to go there. Don't take my word for it, though -- Zinester's Guide to NYC is written by the folks who live in "New York Fuckin' City" -- take theirs.

The library section is five pages long, and if that isn't the clincher, there's advice on where to find a bathroom and where to go in a heat wave ("Any public library... The Tenement Museum") and what your hostess really wants you to bring her in return for a night on her sofa ("Metromint bottled water... a bag of weed").

The whole shebang is indexed for easy finding, and you get a bonus running commentary of zinesters' favorite books, songs, and films about NYC on each page's bottom. This is a damned fine read whether you just love the doo out of zines and the bunch of zinesters who contributed or you really are headed to NYC. I recommend it for New Yorkers, too; if you don't learn something new, I'm pretty sure you'll at least lay a smile upon the findings in the Grossest Things in New York section."

Elevate Difference 5/16/2011

"I love Ayun Halliday's writing voice. It balances a small, healthy dose of making fun of oneself with a snarky and sassy perspective of the world. Her world is New York City, which she describes so well in her adventures with her husband and kids in her zine, The East Village Inky. So I knew I was in for a treat when I saw that Ms. Halliday herself cooked up this tasty guide to New York built exactly for my anarcho-feminist-who-still-watches-crappy/sexist-reality-show leanings. This is the guide to New York to use when you don't have much money, you're open to exploring, and you don't mind public transit. I was especially fond of the top 100 vegan items to consume throughout all of New York (oh, I heart you zinester Melissa Bastian...). There's information about festivals, all kinds of interesting venues for music, arts, and culture, and the atmosphere at each hot coffee shop and brunch place. Microbrews! Places that host guest bartenders! The best spots to copy your zines! It's even got cartoons and illustrations sprinkled throughout the guide, including art by one of my indie faves, Christy C. Road. It makes me want to live in New York (minus the high rents and New York attitudes).

If you need any more convincing to use this honest-to-goodness, made-on-paper guide instead of just doing a random Google search before you hit up Brooklyn or any other New York neighborhood, consider a few things. What Google map will be hand drawn and point out adorable facts like a water taxi that's free on weekends? What other city guide will give little anecdotes on street pole art and advice on how to make your own? And where else can you find gracious knowledge on everything from hostess gifts (edible items from throughout New York are safe bets) to scenic views to photobooth spots? I'm in love with this guide, and I guess I'm a little in love with New York, too."

Roctober 5/15/2011

"In the back of the thick, anecdotal guide to all things New York are a bunch of hand written street maps, like your friend might scrawl out for you to help you get around, but instead of being unintelligible and confusing these marker markings are completely clear and actually helpful. Which pretty much sums up the book: tons of tips about trains, tattoo parlors, bike shops, bars, and free museum passes scribbled out with the personality and character of loopy cursive handwriting...but you can actually read it and it helps."

James A Cox, Midwest Book Review 1/16/2011

Understanding a living city is best done by living in it. ZGNYC is a guide to the life of NY that isn't the life presented by tourism, but instead the best of the best that's off the beaten path and that truly reflects the NY lifestyle that real New Yorkers live. A guide for the NYC tourist who doesn't just want to be a tourist.

Brain Pickings 12/30/2010

"The Zinester’s Guide to NYC is no ordinary book. In the age of crowdsourcing and digital everything, it’s a delightfully analog, painstakingly curated tour of all the things that make the city a cross-cultural icon — from its rich culinary landscape to Brooklyn’s bookstores to the midday madness of Midtown to the peculiar cultures of different neighborhoods, ZG2NYC is a remarkable achievement of urban curiosity, beautifully illustrated with original artwork. In the eloquently laconic words of Stephen Colbert’s review, 'it kicks ass.'"

-Brain Pickings 12/17/2010

The Zinester’s Guide to NYC is no ordinary book. In the age of crowdsourcing and digital everything, it’s a delightfully analog, painstakingly curated tour of all the things that make the city a cross-cultural icon — from its rich culinary landscape to Brooklyn’s bookstores to the midday madness of Midtown to the peculiar cultures of different neighborhoods, ZG2NYC is a remarkable achievement of urban curiosity, beautifully illustrated with original artwork. In the eloquently laconic words of Stephen Colbert’s review, “it kicks ass.” But besides being a quirky yet unbelievably useful guide to the city, the book is also a curious publishing experiment: Rather than doing the traditional book tour dance, with all its nauseating travel and potentially uncomfortable five-person signings, author Ayun Halliday has embarked upon a virtual tour, “visiting” some of her favorite blogs to chat about the book. And we think it’s brilliant. Read more: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2010/12/13/ayun-halliday-zg2nyc/#ixzz18OzzkqCI

Word Bookstore 12/1/2010

We would adore this lively guide to New York even if we weren't mentioned in it! As good a guide for locals to rediscover their city as we've ever seen, but just as good to hand to friends just visiting for the weekend. For: anyone in New York, or dreaming of being in New York.

UrbanicaBlog 11/23/2010

"The ZG2NYC is an anecdotal, illustrated, low budget, highly participatory guidebook that’ll run you less than a movie ticket below 14th Street. From Japanese breakfasts, art supplies, used books, and wisteria (free for the eating in Central Park) to punk rope, volunteer opportunities, storefront museums and subway musicians, the Zinester’s Guide to NYC has it all."

Alex McCord, Real Housewife of New York 9/16/2010

Any old guide book can tell you how to get to the Statue of Liberty, but the ZG2NYC tells you where to go for punk rock rope skipping. In Queens. It makes me want to go climb on decommissioned ships in Staten Island right now, but I can't because I'm in a cocktail dress at 10 AM.

Rolf Potts, Vagabonding 9/16/2010

An old school pleasure, the travel equivalent of a lovingly assembled mix tape--useful and full of surprises.

Matt Gross, New York Times Frugal Traveler 9/16/2010

If you do everything in this book, you will be more of a New Yorker than even the New Yorkiest New Yorker in New York.

Stephen Colbert 9/16/2010

If I could still walk the streets of New York among my People, I would use this truly funny and truly affordable guide book. It kicks ass.