Book Review: 111 Places in New York That You Must Not Miss

111places111 Places in New York That You Must Not Miss
By Jo-Anne Elikann

This book may be indirectly responsible for the creation of this blog.

A little over a year ago, I first visited the City Reliquary, and I was smitten. (One or the other of us will write about it before long.) In their utterly charming gift shop, a copy of 111 Things in New York That You Must Not Miss was displayed opened to the page about the Reliquary. I flipped to the table of contents and was gratified to see my other odd favorite, the Morbid Anatomy Museum, also listed.

I didn’t buy the book then, but the idea of it stuck with me, and the next time I saw it for sale I snatched it up. I don’t often buy books about New York, on the principle that a) they’ll go out of date quickly, and b) I’ve probably been to most of the places, if the book is aimed at tourists; but this one seemed worth the exception. The Foreword notes that the author’s intent was to create a guide to “111 not-to-be-missed places that you just don’t find in other travel guides.”

I conceived the idea of visiting all 111 sites. (As of right now, I’ve been to 17, 4 of which I’ve written about on this blog.) It was this goal that led me to complain to Casey that I didn’t spend enough time exploring New York, and it was that conversation that sparked the idea to create this blog.

If I have a complaint about 111 Places — and it’s not really a complaint, just something to be aware of — it’s that many of the sites don’t need or aren’t worthy of long visits. The Berlin Wall remnants in midtown or Library Way are things you can see, more or less, in five or ten minutes. This book wouldn’t be a great way to put together an itinerary for a trip to New York; you’d spend too much time traveling from place to place. (Though, in the more heavily populated parts of the city, such as the Village, you could plan a walking tour to take in quite a few.)

That said, this is the rare guide book that’s nearly as much fun to read as it is to use in your travels. It’s also a great resource for locals who want to pop into a unique spot on their commute or on their way to something else.

111 Places… That You Must Not Miss is a series; their website lists entries for San Francisco, London, New Delhi, New Orleans… As well as a 111 Shops in New York That You Must Not Miss. I haven’t picked up any of the other guides yet, but on future trips to those cities I probably would, even if only for background reading.


Recommended. Buy on Amazon.