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Organizing Your New York Options

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 7/9/2000 - www.Littleviews.com ]

>>  There is an overwhelming amount of information about things to do in NYC. To make the best use of it, you need to know what you're interested in, what you should be interested in and what might interest you, if you only understood the subject better.

But who knows him- or herself well enough to be able to relate to a glut of information? Worse, who has that kind of memory?

In my native Milwaukee, Wisconsin, finding entertainment was often limited to movies and the play list of The Performing Arts Center. Yes, there were other things, but many tended to be annualized, such as the Great Circus Parade, the State Fair, Summerfest and a host of ethnic festivals. If you missed these mega events one year, you could always attend in any year thereafter. This is not so in NYC, where hundreds of unique small events are more prevalent than big ones.

To make sense of NY, I invest in The New York Times (NYTimes) and TimeOut New York Magazine (TONY), two of the best event-reporting resources in town. On a weekly basis, TONY delivers 150 to 180 pages of fine-print entertainment indexes and the NYTimes, two paper grocery bags full of recyclable newsprint. This is truly a lot of information to digest!

That said, here are some simple ways to organize and remember events with potential:

  • If you live in the area, subscribe to both the NYTimes and TONY (see Resources). If you are from out-of-town and plan on moving here, I highly recommend subscribing to the NYTimes. TONY provides a fantastic index of weekly events, but the NYTimes gives you the best flavor of the city.

  • Prepare a 3-ring binder. Fill it with student-type, punched, lined paper and manilla index pages that reflect the main sections of the NYTimes, such as Arts, Sports, Business, Food, Architecture, etc. Index other topics, too, such as Music, Plays, Readings and Dance, depending on your interests.

  • Be open minded and glance through all newspaper sections, even if you don't read them closely. I've accidentally discovered events that I've loved while going through the Food and Architecture sections, even though I rarely cook and don't plan on buying a building. And the Metro section often contains ads for author readings and special seminars.

  • Whenever you see an event in the NYTimes that interests you, make the following notations in a corresponding section of your binder: Event name, event date, contact information (including a web site), plus the date the article appeared and the reporter/author's name (if any).

  • Continue building your simple database of entertainment possibilities, adding events from any resource, not just the NYTimes. The NYTimes, however, carries copies of its articles on its websites: www.nytimes.com and/or www.nytoday.com. Whenever you need to refresh your memory, just search for the subject, date, author, etc. on these sites. This way you can stay informed without resorting to saving piles of old papers.

      Question: why not go to the NYTimes' site without buying the paper? Answer: It takes far longer to digest the site than to scan the paper and you are more apt to miss things you are not specifically looking for, especially special ads.

      Question: But what about special events that show up in ads? Answer: Many of those events are associated with web sites. Even if they are not, by making notes in your special interest binder, you won't let them slip by.

      Question: But what if I find more events than I can possibly handle? Answer: Most people have the opposite problem. In the middle of plenty, they can't think of a thing. Besides, it is always better to have a personalized selection from which to choose, than be overwhelmed with other people's ideas. And the benefit? A few minutes planning a day keeps boredom away for weeks.

    Follow this advice and you'll become an event connoisseur. Just think how you'll shock your friends when they ask "what's up?" . . . and you actually know!

    Karen Little

    Article and photo by Karen Little. First published on 7/9/2000. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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