From two idealistic hippies to multinational capitalists, the Lonely Planet saga never ceases to amuse me in its irony. But what can I say, a lot of their products are still pretty good.
I know all the LP groupies will neg me as a matter of course, but I have to do my due diligence and give this a mere two stars: it's not that the content is bad, but this is not the right format for this format, if that makes any sense. What I mean is, if they're going to have a "pocket guide" series, then do it right:
First, if you set this and the LP Discover NYC side-by-side, you'll notice it's a bit smaller width- and height-wise, but actually thicker, even with fewer pages. The pages are thicker, and each dimension of the book prohibits this from actually fitting in my pocket. If you look at the content, you'll see that for most sights, restaurants, etc., that the pocket edition just contains the first paragraph of the longer description from the Discover book. Of course I expect overlap, but just realize that I don't think there is any differing content in this book. The pictures are also mostly the same, or cropped to look different. The pull-out map is the same, just folded twice instead of once vertically.
But the real problem is that this book is just too big. They could easily put the entire Discover book into this slightly smaller format, but they instead put too much white space and pictures in it as if it were a book for browsing. If I want a coffee-table book, I'll buy one, or I'll buy the Discover book (and I generally like that series for that reason), but if I want a pocket guide, then presumably I want a small guide that I can carry without looking like a tourist and without having to have it in hand or have to carry a big bag just to keep the book around. Therefore, I want pertinent information without the glitz and glamour (i.e., without the glossy pages and pictures) - and I want it in a small font in a truly pocket-sized guide.
So...if you absolutely must have this guide and a full sized tourbook, then at least don't buy both of them LP. You can probably find 90% of this info in the NYC section of their "USA" country guide and probably 110% of it in their NY State guide. Second, realize carrying this around isn't much less burdensome than a regular book. Finally, the price point is near what the full city guide would cost, so it just strikes me as a big business tactic (that irony again) to make as much more money as possible without really coming up with anything new.
The new "pocket guide" series could have some potential in some cases, but they need to rethink the actual format.