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New to New York? Make this your first stop...
This airy, 2,000-square foot center is more than a hub for tourist brochures, discount offers and information. With its futuristic feel and multi-lingual, user-friendly interactive planning tools, tourists and city dwellers alike discover everything they need to know about Gotham. And it’s all free from NYC & Co., the city’s tourist bureau.
You’re in for a treat when you enter this glass-fronted storefront (look for the NYC information logo above the door with its black lower case I in a circle). Start by stepping up to one of three smart tables that link with eye-popping Google maps to plan your itinerary and explore attractions in the city’s five boroughs.
Just move the “You Are Here” interactive disc around the touch-screen tabletop and plug in categories, like dining or museums. Flags jump onto the screen. Touch them and you’ll see descriptions and photos of each place.
Save your selections to the disc, then bring it over to the Video Wall to see your destinations in amazing detail a giant, three-dimensional Google Earth map. Use the disc to create your own itinerary and print it out, e-mail it or send it to your mobile devise for your own portable, personalized tour route.
But the center isn’t just a high-tech playground. Friendly travel specialists, fluent in 11 languages, offer up-to-the-minute advice on the latest things to see and do. They'll help you book your reservations and tickets and tell you how to get there.
Want brochures and more ideas? Head over to the Touch-Screen Wall with its four FAQ screens in 10 languages or browse the Brochure Wall for maps, pamphlets and discount coupons.
You can even buy a MetroCard at a vending machine for transportation on the city’s subways and buses.
The center is a futuristic attraction in itself and a great way to discover the nooks and crannies of New York. Find it north of Times Square at 810 Seventh Ave. between West 52nd and 53rd Streets. (212-484-1222).
Open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and holidays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more about it at www.nycgo.com/articles/onic.