The guide is not your average
cookie-cutter compilation of places to go and sights to see. From
its origins as a small handbook to introduce students to
neighborhoods beyond Morningside Heights, the guide has grown
dramatically in size and depth in its 20-year existence. The 1999
edition features new graphics and design and new sections geared
toward celebrating the eclectic spirit of New York. The writers of
Inside New York strive to provide a young, hip, cutting-edge
view of the city, as seen from students' perspective.
This year's edition is noteworthy
for many reasons. The name change from the Columbia Guide to New
York to the more universal Inside New York reflects a
desire to reach a broader audience. The book's creators have
successfully marketed it to companies such as Bookworld Services
and the Ingram Book Group, the largest wholesale book distributor
in the nation. There are 30,000 copies of the paperback in print
and 24,000 now in distribution, and it has received recognition in
the general media, including a very positive writeup in The New
York Times in March. Customized editions of the guidebook have
been produced for other schools, including Hofstra, New York Law
and the School of Visual Arts.
"It's a big point in our history,"
said Matthew Matlack, publisher of Inside New York. "We're
the No. 1 student guidebook on New York, and can easily compete
with the Fodor's guide to New York by next year."
Unlike their big-budget competitors,
the staff at Inside New York comprises two College juniors,
Matlack and vice president of sales Daniel Greenstein, who hired
the remainder of the team during production. As full-time students,
juggling course loads and work on the guide book became a challenge
in time management. "You've got to stay up late, which was fun for
the first couple of hours," said editor in chief Amy Barnett. "But
all of a sudden you hate New York and you just don't care if people
from out of town get lost. But somehow, we got it all
The guide sells for $16.95 and is
financed by the University, with all profits reinvested in the
"Because we employ students, we can
hire a lot more people and add a lot of fun things on the side,"
said Greenstein. "We can tell them to go to the more interesting
parts of the city." Citing the walking tour sections for each
neighborhood and interviews with local celebrities as
distinguishing features, Matlack and Greenstein hope the guide will
encourage readers to visit more esoteric spots as well as the
traditional tourist attractions.
The book targets the visitor to New
York and those who live here. "I like to think that Inside New
York is truly about young New Yorkers trying to do their thing
for real, which is kind of exciting," said Barnett.
Work on the 2000 edition already has
begun. The writing is done in the spring and the book is printed in
July for distribution in the fall. Editors plan to introduce a new
section about events commemorating the millennium.
"It is our intention, for the 2000
edition, to produce the best guidebook on New York City," said
Greenstein, who will serve as associate publisher of the upcoming