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Turn your coffee table into a street map with a crop of new titles exploring Big Apple locales.

Photograph: Nick Himmel

Hidden New York: A Guide to Places That Matter
By Marci Reaven and Steve Zeitlin. Rivergate Books, $22.95.

Fun-fact-collecting New Yorkers have new fodder for their competitive hobby, as Hidden New York is packed with historical nuggets and exposition on city gems both big and little. Trivia buffs might know about Chinatown’s Tic-Tac-Toe–playing chickens, but the exotic thrushes paraded around Broome Street’s Hua Mei Garden, for example, are birds of a different feather. The city’s spiritual side is explored in write-ups on unique houses of worship, including the colorful Ganesha Hindu Temple in Flushing and Staten Island’s stone-studded shrine to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a pilgrimage site for almost 70 years. Written by the directors of City Lore, a nonprofit promoting and preserving New York’s cultural heritage, the book also benefits from no-b.s. commentary from old-time New Yorkers and detailed transportation info for those interested in exploring a few of the finds for themselves.

— Kate Lowenstein