Carol von Pressentin Wright's "Blue Guide to New York" is probably the most comprehensive guidebook to the Big Apple available. Absolutely indispensable, it includes 41 detailed maps for all five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, along with several black and white photographs. As a New Yorker, I cannot think of anything that has not been included here. I frequently use the book myself, especially when I have out-of-town visitors. It is also excellent, for New Yorkers and visitors alike, to use on walking tours. I have the 2002 edition.
In an extremely accessible format, "The Blue Guide" presents information on all NYC districts and important sights, including: practical information, lodgings, restaurants and eateries for every budget, transportation, museums and galleries, sports, performing arts, shopping, monuments, historic detail and districts, detailed walking tours and background information. As noted, there is a veritable plethora of clear and easy-to-follow maps, along with a large pull-out MTA map of the subway system, and bus, railroad and ferry connections.
From the posh shops on Madison and Fifth Avenues to the funky Lower East Side, from the streets of Greenwich Village and Soho to the brownstones of Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, this is the one and only guide you will need to navigate through this fabulous city, and to find fascinating out-of-the-way places most tourests never discover. There are myriad cultures here: Little Odessa in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Little Italy, Chinatown, a thriving Greek community in Astoria, Queens, Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn where Arabic is heard on the street and wares from all over the Middle East are sold. Almost every country in the world is represented here and you can visit them all easily with the Blue Guide in hand. I hope you enjoy the city I love!