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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Chris Ford

21 things you had to know in New York before smartphones

By
Will Gleason
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Nothing means back-to-school more than Apple’s annual September presentation of the numerous ways your 6-month old iPhone is now obsolete. In fact, it’s hard to remember a time when you had to rely on nothing but your wits and intuition to get around the city, and “Siri” was just a mispronunciation of the fringed transportation device in Oklahoma! Gather round the fire child, here are 21 ways that having robot geniuses in our pockets have changed our lives for the better. 

1. How the subway worked. Like, all of it.

2. What to do at concerts downtown instead of filming them.

3. The best way to navigate the maze of the West Village. 

4. How to eat brunch without photographing it. (And how to decide what to order without Yelp.)

5. How to actually flirt. In real life. At bars.

6. Where to look in awkward situations like crowded elevators or while you were waiting alone because your date was accidentally on Broadway instead of West Broadway.

7. The best ways to hold a newspaper on the subway.

8. Directions, in general.

9. What time The Met closed on Saturdays.

10. How to look cool sitting at a bar alone.

11. Where bars were.

12. Where restaurants were.

13. How to work your voicemail machine.

14. The cheapest place in your neighborhood that developed photos.

15. How to use a pencil.

16. How to make the perfect mixtape.

17. Your favorite delivery restaurant’s phone number. How to order food over the phone.

18. How to stop working.

19. Your phone number. Your account balance. Your apartment address.

20. The least dirty payphone in any given area.

21. How to live in the moment like a boring person.

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