The Tech of NYC – The Apps
The holiday season caught me up in a wave, and time went along with it. So a month after I spent a packed weekend in New York City, I am finally getting around to a quick review of the apps that I used to have a successful weekend in the Big Apple. I’ll say right away that my app plan didn’t go as expected, but everything worked out perfectly in the end. Some old apps showed new power, and some new apps proved duds. So first off here are the apps that I pre-loaded for the trip.
The Apps that I planned to use
I love app folders. I have hundreds, yes HUNDREDS, of apps on my iPhone, and folders keep me from going absolutely bonkers. Though if you find yourself searching for an app, here’s a TECH TIP. Just swipe down from the CENTER of the screen, and you’ll find a search bar at the top. Type the app name and you’re on your way! Ok, back to the apps.
I created a “New York City” folder to hold all of the “amazing” apps I planned to use. Here’s the breakdown.
Top of the Rock
New York eTips
NYC Essential Guide
Central Park eTips
My choices of applications were based in what I “planned” to do. I wanted to go to the top of Rockefeller Center (mainly because it was cheaper than the Empire State Building and closer to my hotel). So I got a couple Rockefeller apps. I planned to ride the subway at least a couple of stops, so there’s the NYC Subway app. Central Park was on my Agenda and “eTips” had a nice app highlighting a few bits. Finally, every tourist needs some tourism apps that are all encompassing. I grabbed 3 of them (New York eTips, NYC Tourist, and NYC Essential Guide). I ended up missing the Top of the Rock so those apps went unused. But I missed that trip because our team went down to the financial district to visit the 9/11 Memorial, and that’s where I ended up with my last app on the list, the 911 Memorial App, which proved to be one of the most interesting and powerful apps in the bundle. So how did I use these apps? Spoiler, my primary app wasn’t even on the original list.
The Apps that didn’t make the Cut
I browsed my tourism apps on the plane ride to JFK. I quickly discovered that the eTips guides for NYC and Central Park had only limited content before you had to pony up some dough. For a three day trip, I planned on spending my money on souvenirs not apps. So there went both eTips guides. NYC Tourist offers a nice map showing lots of locations, but it is incredibly busy. I did keep the app the first day, and used it a couple times (found the closed Carnegie Deli with it). But ultimately it went on the scrap pile too. That left me with just a handful of apps that really made the weekend work.
The Apps I Actually Used
My primary tourism app was “NYC Essential Guide”. This app does suffer from the “only a few things are free” issue that plagued all of my tourism apps, but one feature made this app worth it. It’s called “Top 25” which highlights 25 points of interest, including brief overviews, maps, reviews, and contact information. I can see a lot of potential in the “premium features” but I wasn’t spending nearly enough time to make that worth it. Maybe next time! The trip to the 911 Memorial was on the subway’s Red Line. I used my “NYC Subway” app to keep track of the stops and to know when to dash out the doors. TIP: if standing, lean against the train’s forward motion, or you’ll end up on your butt; it’s fast!” The final app I ended up with (aside from my final surprise) was the 911 Memorial app. I highly recommend a visit to this memorial. And plan to take the audio tour and keep your camera in your pocket. This is a somber experience, a sobering experience, and one not to be missed. Everyone I went with got the audio tour kit (with a tape player of sorts and headphones). I opted for the earbuds only, and added the audio tour via the free 911 app. The lady at the audio tour counter didn’t even charge me the $5 for the earbuds. We went into the memorial as a group of 10, but we came out slowly one by one, as we each were immersed in the experience of the memorial. If you can, go.
The old app worth its weight in gold!
Two words. Google Maps. We all know this app. We all have used it from time to time. If it’s to find a local restaurant, get turn-by-turn navigation, or simply check out cities around the globe down to street view; this is an app I always took for granted. But when I hit the pavement Sunday afternoon to begin my ambitious 10 mile hike around Midtown and Central Park, Google Maps was my guide. I spent some time before I left the hotel figuring out how many minutes it would take to get from location to location, to ensure I would make it back to catch my ride to the airport. I loaded my itinerary into my Evernote App, and I never touched the phone again (except to take pictures). My plan, built with Google Maps, went off without a hitch. I could totally see this being my go-to app when I’m in a new city (I get to test my theory in San Francisco in two days). An old favorite showing it still reigns as the king of maps!
The Whole Cup Summed Up
Apps are only as good as how seamless they work with your planned agenda. They are only good if they enhance your experience. If you are fighting the app, it’s not worth the time. I used some duds, and found some gems during my weekend in New York City. So the next time you head out on the road, be sure to find some apps, and build a folder to keep them straight. You’ll use some often, and quickly deleting others, and that’s okay. Just don’t forget, when in doubt, turn to Google Maps!