Amaze of tunnels runs underneath New York, most of them stuffed with fiber optic cable. At least it seems that would have to be the case to handle the scads of local Web sites.
I'd even guess that there may be more local Web sites in New York than tourists toting cameras and wearing fanny packs. Want to check out ghosts, spirits and medieval haunts? Try the Medieval New York Guide.
Looking for where all the pagans are? Try the New York City Pagan Guide.
Just trying to find your way around? The official Metropolitan Transportation Authority site will give you maps, tips and even a history lesson if you're so inclined.
SOURCE FOR INSIDER TIPS
Of course, New York also has all the nationwide city guides and a few of its own. Having lived here for only two years and generally relying on the Web for quick info, the assortment of sites has more than once provided easy directions and great insider tips.
For instance, did you know you can get half-price theater tickets not only on the crowded median strip in Times Square, but also in the World Trade Center lobby where the traffic is not whizzing by and the air conditioning is on?
Microsoft Corp.'s Sidewalk is one of the sites I turn to on a regular basis. Say what you will about the behemoth Microsoft wanting to own the world, but the site is great. Loads quickly, good tips, easy to read info and each entry comes with a handy subway "getting there" listing as well as types of credit cards the venue takes.
The New York Times on the Web is one of the granddaddies of newspaper sites on the Web and also available through America Online.
It's a great local and national news source. Before moving here, I logged on regularly to search the classifieds for apartments. I eventually found one through a realtor, but searching helped me get over the sticker shock of New York rents.
SHOPPING GUIDE BIASED
The New York Times newest spinoff for entertainment, arts and culture is New York Today and it is ambitious. One of the most promising features for me is the advertiser-supported sales and shopping guide. So far the pickings are slim and there is a drawback. One week when I knew there was a Kate Spade sample sale (got a great deal, by the way), I found no mention on the site. That's because the women's handbag maker is not an advertiser. Another potentially hot feature is the community listing and e-mail for civic organizations and clubs that sign up.
Since the site is new, only about 20 or so businesses are signed up so far.
COVERING THE BASICS
Digital City New York does the basics well and has quintessential New Yorker Pete Hamill as a writer. The 2.0 version hypes its virtual neighborhood feature, but I'm not really interested in setting up my own home page and reading the opinions of Joe-down-the-street on hot restaurants. But that's just me. Judging from the number of sites listed for each 'hood (a low of 85 for Chinatown, but a whopping 1,020 for Long Island on the day I checked), it is popular with others.
Time Out New York is a favorite local, comprehensive weekly magazine guide to the city, so as expected, the same goes for the Web site, created in conjunction with CitySearch.
A more funky and New York-only magazine spinoff is Paper magazine's site, a must-read for the ultra cool in the city.
Every other city guide critique in this section will probably list radio station Web sites. So let me just admit my bias up front. I don't have a car, therefore I don't listen to the radio as much as most people. (Ever try to tune in a radio station on a New York subway train?)
SCANNING WEB RADIO
So I consulted an expert, our young and hip editorial assistant, and he gave me a few of the hottest call letters in town.
Frankly, I wasn't compelled by a lot of contests, meet the DJs, chat rooms and neon backgrounds that made reading next to impossible. Still, that only says something about my own not-so-young and not-so-hip status.
However, in my quest for cool, I stumbled onto a definite bookmark addition, WCBS. The numerous news listings are short and scannable, plus there is a good weather page and quick sports updates. They even have Martha Stewart.
After all, when you're trying to create a home in a 600-square-foot apartment, you need Martha.
Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.