Goop’s City Guides gives questionable travel advice for visitors

Dec 20, 2011
Tech

I’m definitely no expert on New York City, but I did just finish a four-day visit to the Big Apple, so I’m fairly familiar with various travel guides and suggestions for visitors. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle newsletter and website Goop.com (which has received its share of mocking in the past) has launched a universal app […]

I’m definitely no expert on New York City, but I did just finish a four-day visit to the Big Apple, so I’m fairly familiar with various travel guides and suggestions for visitors. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle newsletter and website Goop.com (which has received its share of mocking in the past) has launched a universal app for iDevice called City Guides, which provides an “insider” look at things to do in New York City.

To get Gwynnie’s picks, you’ll need to shell out $3.99 — on the high side when you consider how many free or 99-cent travel guide options are out there and the fact that the app only includes New York City tips at this point.

The app has a user-friendly aesthetic and useful features such as built-in maps, transportation tips and what to do in a variety of emergency situations. This is well and good, but when it comes to the actual picks for where to shop, eat, drink or stay, I’m not sure Goop is offering the top selections for what to do in Manhattan.

Sure, the app offers some worthwhile picks, such as MoMA or the relatively new High Line Park, but I was surprised to find a chain listed in the food sections (and in cab driver Rudy’s picks): Five Guys. Really? I’m a big fan of the burger joint, but the simple fact that its more than 750 locations exist across 40 states (and Canada) means that it most assuredly is not a great pick for a NYC visit. The omission of The Strand on the best bookshops list was equally surprising to me — but then again, I’m a N.Y. neophyte.

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Overall, I wasn’t impressed with City Guide’s content. Guides for Los Angeles and London are coming soon, but I’d wait to purchase until the price on this app plummets.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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