I have been using reviews from Yelp ( and sometimes some other sites, like Trip Advisor and About.com) to help put the places I show into some perspective--
But there's a catch to all this!
In most cases, in fact almost ALL cases, I have no personal experience of the hotel or restaurant or shop that I am showing...I can tell you what I see when I am there in person, and how people seem to be responding ( just , for instance, as I could not help but notice the happy people always out on the sidewalk in front of that Brasserie "Les Halles," on Park Avenue South.
I mean, it is also a very attractive place ( what they call "ambiance") --at least as far as I am concerned-- and I see how packed and happy it is compared to other places all around it for blocks.
In this regard, I noticed how neat this little French restaurant called "Le Parisien" looked and, not having the time to eat there myself (I am not a food critic whose meals are paid for, either)--
when I read the Yelp reviews of course I was a little alarmed by a couple of the entries I read.
In regard to this, a very level headed friend of mine from high school who is an excellent architect and very culturally sophisticated guy in California, wrote this to me about my hesitance to do "Le Parisien":
"I think you should include your coverage of Le Parisien and other
locations in New York irrespective of Yelp reviews. Many of those
reviews are posted by crackpots. I've heard that competitors will post
bad reviews under an assumed name. At best, they are all hearsay. Your
readers are interested in your observations, not a reprinting of others'
opinions. As you indicated, you make the disclaimer that the location
has mixed reviews. You are not endorsing or condemning any business, so
the reviews are tertiary to your purpose."
OK, so with that in mind, wherever possible I will be reviewing places where I have a personal experience of them, but since I am surrounded by hundreds of places in Midtown alone --I could never eat my way through all the interesting looking restaurants I see, for instance-- I just want you all to know you have to put the Yelp (or Trip Advisor, etc.) reviews into this context/
Lawrence Kreger, Midtownblogger