Friday, June 24, 2011

Exploring New York City with apps

There are plenty of ways to get information on the big "must see" tourist traps in the city. There are even apps for all the usual information you can pick up at any news stand. What I was and continue to be looking for is a way to traverse the city with a stroller, to be able to find play areas for my son, and to learn about this city as he does.
Citistroller, NYC Landmark finder, and NYC Subway are three apps I've recently tested out. None of them is what I am looking for, exactly. If you know of one I can try, let me know in the comments.
I think my favorite is NYC Landmark finder. This is an iPhone app but it works well on the iPad, too. It has awesome ability to find you (or a location of your choice) and find landmarks within a given distance. Some of the landmarks are...more interesting than others (NY Cab company stable vs Beacon Theater) but more is better in this case. I would love to have a blurb of audio on the history, but then again, I rarely wear headphones. Links are provided to sites with more information when available. Over all worth the purchase.
Citistroller is good for getting around- shows you playgrounds, stroller friendly subway entrances, nursing and changing rooms, etc. But it relies on user input, which means there are a lot of spots noted in Manhattan, but in the other boroughs, nada. Oh, and the program froze after I fiddled with it for fifteen min (I suggested three additions here in Queens). This is an iPhone app that has a lot of potential but was very disappointing.
NYC Subway app is on the surface a nice app. I have discussed before how I feel about having to buy in app options, but if you're looking for nearby fast-food, coffee, hotel or points of interest, you can find out how to get there via subway. I found this app to be lacking in many ways. It is not intuitive, and there's that whole in app purchase thing- those are annoyances I could live with. The reason this app won't be on my iPad for long is its lack of data. I requested points of interest near 66th and broadway. This is the Lincoln Center area, a place I think we can all agree is a big attraction (it was in Glee!). You are right on top of this artistic attraction when you pop out of the subway (it has an elevator- score!). The NYC Subway app pulled up one point of interest, and that was the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park. Not the Dakota buildings, not the Beacon Theater. Not Lincoln Center or Juliard. Not even the ABC taping studio where people line up every morning (to be fair, NYC Landmarks doesn't show it, but then again, that building isn't a landmark). I paid to find Starbucks and there are at least four in the range I selected. Not worth the $.

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