What began as an utterly nerdy term, an invented expression, blogging, is now a mainstay of popular culture and, as I’ve found, the best way to get to know a city. Take walkingoffthebigapple.com for example. Here is a blog that provides details on walking routes throughout the city faster, more in depth, and more up to date than any Lonely Planet Guide could dream of doing.
When I moved to Manhattan over a year ago I had no clue of what was available to me, what was accessible in the areas of food, entertainment, city details, and best of all free stuff. Slowly, but surely, I came across blogs like midtownlunch.com and instantly found a world that mixed helpful suggestions with a sense of humor that kept me reading closely and often. Midtown’s latest post is titled: Midtown Links (The “I’m Glad I Don’t Have Gout” Edition). And check out nycnosh.com while you’re at it.
I almost don’t want to mention it, but every “Guide to New York” book I was given before my move have been opened but a few times, except of course for the Not For Tourists Guide. That book is a lifesaver, if simply for the maps alone. But to this day it’s been the blogs that over anything else have provided the most interesting, knowledgeable and insider perspective on this city.Blogs like nysonglines.com and newyorkdailyphoto.com will give a much more solid perspective.
Soon you’ll find out that a friend of yours has his or her own blog, or maybe even a coworker, as I found out with Blah Blog Blah.
For anyone that is new to a large city (L.A., Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, wherever): Don’t just read blogs for information on what to do and where to go in your new city, start your own blog. You’ll not only be documenting a certain aspect of your experience (my advice is to choose an angle or hook that is all yours, that is fresh and unresearched), but you’ll be plugged into a network of people who care about the city enough to take time out of their busy lives to offer their insights.
Considering moving to a new city and want to get the feel of it without buying a plane ticket? Check the blogs. What you’ll get is an unfiltered review of everything that people love, hate, find important, or think should go away. You may be surprised at what you’ll find.