Getting around New York can be crazy challenging at times. Not only do you have to force your way through crowds of people like you’re on the concourse of a NFL football game during half time, you have to know where you’re going as well.
(I’m so bummed this picture didn’t quite turn out!! I saw this huuuuge billboard when I was walking around Times Square. OK maybe it doesn’t look THAT big in the photo.. but look how many windows it stretches down to the left.. 8 WINDOWS! That’s how big it is!)
Thankfully these days we have smart phones to help us out a little bit…
…and smart apps. These are some of the apps that helped me navigate my way through the Big Apple over the busy Labor Day weekend.
The most useful app is definitely Google Maps. Living in Jacksonville, I only ever need the regular driving directions or the walking. I finally got to click the “bus” icon!
The bus icon indicates public transit which even includes different subway trains, buses and even the times they depart and arrive.
All I needed to do was put in my starting location and my ending location. Google Maps would select the route it thought best for me.
Sometimes, Google doesn’t know what really IS the best route or maaaybe I would suddenly get enamored with a store we walked past and it took us longer than predicted to walk to the sub station. Hey! The Lego Store really was pretty cool! For that I could click “Show later trips” and I’d be shown more options for trains, subway stations, and buses. This was great for when Google thought the best option would be multiple trains. I’m not really a great fan of that. I prefer a direct route, and there are so many trains in New York, this is definitely possible. (Especially for the short trips I was taking just around Manhattan)
Another app I too advantage of was the New York City Subway App.
Wow. Look at all those subway options. This map was a little overwhelming at first. I more or less just used this to confirm what the Google Maps app was telling me. I’m used to the L and train in Chicago. For that, in addition to the map above (which is much, much simpler), you have a list of all the different times a train would come thru a specific station. I never found this type of setup in New York. It may just be because trains come much more frequently than in Chicago. If you want long enough, chances are, another train will come by!
Overall my biggest complaint about both Google Maps and the New York Subway map is that neither one was updated for the holiday weekend. There were a few trains that weren’t running on Labor Day which both apps didn’t adjust for. No worries though. We still got where we needed to go.
I also used Yelp like crazy! I find it really frustrating to be in a new city and not know where to go. I feel like I always pick the wrong place to go (and the right place to go was actually right to where I was). Being able to use Yelp, I could not only research somewhere to go for dinner I could narrow the options down to how close it was to my current location and easily see how others have rated it.
I wasn’t feeling that great over the weekend. (Apparently flying makes my chronic sinusitis allergies flare up, which I didn’t learn until I was in the air. Oh joy!) So when we woke up Saturday morning, we were both hungry, and I really didn’t feel like walking far. Thanks to Yelp, we were able to locate a place just a block away. Unfortunately, we were staying in Times Square, so everything near us was exponentially more expensive and mediocre (especially for breakfast). At least we left full and ready to tackle the day!
Do you have a favorite app you use when traveling?? We definitely are hoping to return to NYC next summer! Where’s your favorite place to visit?
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.