Saturday, July 31, 2010

Travel via Facebook Tour Guides

Myself in Wonderland (Central Park)
For the past two weeks I've been roaming around New York with my friend Jessica. This is my second visit here and we've done our mix of touristy things like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, and Yankee Stadium.  Yet, while Jessica has been in class, I have wandered to places that I probably wouldn't have found on my own thanks to my host of Facebook tour guides.

Now my friend Jen did provide me with a subway map, a city map, and a book called New York's Unique and Unexpected Places by Judith & Alexandra Stonehill prior to my trip, but she followed up on Facebook as she glanced at pictures I had taken and posted.  She suggested places in that would be of interest based on what she knew of me.  For instance, I had take a picture next to the Shakespeare statue in Central Park.  After posting it she suggested I find the Alice and Wonderland statue, which I did within the next few days.  She sent me links on how to get good priced tickets to Broadway shows and she passed on information about New York via Facebook knowing that I would probably not pick up a newspaper (or read my New York Times i-phone ap) while I was here.

A-Rod getting beaned by a ball
during the Yankee/Royals game.
Another friend Ken kept me apprise of discounts to Yankee games so that we got fairly decent seats at a good price.  Likewise, he toured me through a scenic route in New Jersey where I could see New York from the shoreline.  Many of his suggestions were about "the experience" such as eating lunch on the library stairs, eating at certain restaurants, and keeping my wits about me as I tried to figure out the MTA bus/train system. Likewise, he countered any fears about going into certain areas of New York/New Jersey.

My trip is almost over.  I am in a hotel room with the worse Internet ever and so my ability to update picture posts has gone downhill.  Yet, I keep people up to date with posts about my adventures so that they can add further suggestions in my final days here.  It helped that two of my friends from where I live came into town to show me their favorite restaurants and attend the Broadway show La Cage with me.  My suggestion to anybody traveling is to post frequent updates to your social network pages.  You never know who can help you find the experience you'll never forget.

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