Apps to make you a shrewd city dweller
Use these mobile services to up your city savvy—or fake it until you do.
Wed Mar 28 2012
(available for iOS, Android and Blackberry; free)
What it does: More than 60 mini programs in one, the bits of information housed in this app range from the practical (car services) to the frivolous but fun (juice joints, food carts).
Why you need it: Because sometimes you just have to know why the Empire State Building is white, red and white. (FYI: It’s for the Red Bulls’ opening day.)
(available for iOS; $3.99, itrans.info)
What it does: This transportation tool gives you directions, service advisories, timetables, and high-resolution maps for the subway system, PATH and New Jersey Transit.
Why you need it: Most mobile transit programs work only when connected to the Internet, but this one is fully functional both online and off.
(available for iOS; free)
What it does: Searchable by restaurant name or your location, this database gathers Department of Health inspection reports from 24,000 local eateries.
Why you need it: No one wants to eat C-grade shrimp, which this app helps you avoid.
Beer Gardens NYC
(available for iOS; 99¢, beergardensnyc.com)
What it does: Brew lovers can access more than 60 outdoor bars, searching by borough, neighborhood or price. True aficionados can also home in on a brewery to see which venues carry that brand’s beers.
Why you need it: Now that spring has arrived, you can easily surmise which drinkeries are closest to your workplace or apartment.
Type n Walk
(available for iOS; 99¢, type-n-walk.com)
What it does: Your phone will display a texting screen against a transparent backdrop that shows whatever scene is in front of you, including tripping hazards such as pets on leashes and pesky slow walkers.
Why you need it: So you won’t look like a fool smacking into a pole (or person) while composing an e-mail.
(available for iOS; free, bestroom.com)
What it does: In addition to helping you find public bathrooms, this service crowd-sources details like how clean or well stocked the facility is, and sends feedback to the agency in charge.
Why you need it: There isn’t always a Starbucks around when nature calls.
Exit Strategy NYC
What it does: This subway-centric program shows you a map of each station and where to “prewalk”—or how to situate yourself on the platform, so that you’re positioned to exiton arrival. You’ll also get the MTA’s neighborhood maps for each station, bus routes for all five boroughs and maps that show where each subway station’s street-level entrance is located.
Why you need it: Legit New Yorkers aren’t into wasting time or energy. There’s no need to idly wait for the incoming train at any old spot on the platform when you can get out of the station quicker at your destination.