Weathering the novel COVID-19 virus has given new meaning to stress and boredom, at opposite ends of the spectrum, at the same time. In Manhattan, where I’ve been cooped up in solitude since mid-March, I came across a way to discover the city I call home (hint: it doesn’t involve going online) but can’t explore at the moment.Remote and Armchair Traveling—Manhattan - The Wise Traveller - New York in Stride

Two books delighted my curiosity and gave me the opportunity to learn more about neighborhoods I’ve often breezed through while doing errands and resulted in the idea for this article about remote, armchair travel.

One, a walking guidebook about iconic and unusual places grouped by neighborhoods spotlights quirky locations with charming, cheerful watercolor illustrations. The other book captures the city’s well-known and unknown locations at different times of the day and night with gorgeous photographs. Both books are published by Rizzoli and available starting April 2020.

With illustrations by Jessie Kanelos Weiner and engaging text by Jacob Lehman, “New York in Stride” reveals architectural highlights, cultural hubs, food and drink spots, boutiques, art galleries, parks, and museums across eleven neighborhoods. Anecdotes and tips are woven into each chapter, such as how to order coffee and a bagel like a New Yorker, along with suggestions for visiting some of the city's most beautiful pocket parks and gardens.

There are also recommendations for what to do after-hours in each neighborhood, like visiting jazz bars and lounges (new and old). I found myself fully engaged and enjoying page after page complete with historic references written with a light touch and now can’t wait to get back to exploring!

Remote and Armchair Traveling—Manhattan - The Wise Traveller - Illustrations

Skylines of New York” by Richard Berenholtz proves that the city’s skyline, at any time of the day or night, from sunrise to sunset, is dramatic from any perspective. For the last thirty-five years, commercial photographer Berenholtz, whose specialty is architecture and cityscapes, has releasedRemote and Armchair Traveling—Manhattan - The Wise Traveller - Richard Berenholtz this special edition of 75 photographs taken from angles and perches made available to him exclusively for taking photographs.

I was enthralled with the gatefold pages that showcase shots including the tip of Lower Manhattan, Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park and upper Manhattan. There are four that open to two feet of breathtaking skyline images. The book’s compact size makes it easy to hold (it’s not a coffee table book) and also makes a great gift!

With all the suggestions for going online to find distractions, solutions, and ways to enrich and fill up one’s days during lockdowns, I enjoyed being able to hold a book and flip through the pages, back and forth, to learn about and see places in Manhattan that I’m not familiar with.

Isabelle Kellogg's press relations career, with a speciality in travel and hospitality, enabled her to make an easy transition to journalism and write about the topics she loves.