Navigating New York – Digital Way (Part Travelogue, Part Reviews, Part Tips and Lessons Learned)

Map of the New York Subway
Image via Wikipedia
This past weekend, I was in New York city with my sister and a friend. Here is how I found different digital means of navigating and enjoying the trip. This post is as much for you readers as it is for my digital archive.

A week ahead
I logged into Intercontinental site to use my rewards points and my Gold member status to score this pretty sweet Holiday Inn in Soho. (It’s a perfect location for taking Chinatown bus and shopping in Soho.)
I checked out Bolt and MegaBus for Wifi-enabled productive bus rides but no luck, the tickets were double the price of good ole Fung Wah. So I decided to book the infamous Fung Wah bus for round trip tickets from their web site.

The morning of
I looked through my check list in Things for Weekend Travel.

Day 1.
Looked up directions to the hotel from GoogleMap from the hotel confirmation I sent to Evernote and saved it off line. Yelp iPhone app did well to navigate us to a good italian place on Little Italy. Food was decent and deserved the rating on Yelp.
Then off we went to Soho for shopping. Between Yelp and GoogleMaps, I think we did pretty well by hitting up Topshop, Uniqlo, Muji and a few small boutiques.
When I hit a crisis of conscience deciding whether to buy this crazy dress, polling Twitter and Facebook gave me reassurance. But to be sure, I sent the picture to the boy and the mother. There probably is a dedicated iPhone app for this kind of dressing room crisis.
Wandering around east village with the help of Yelp and my memory, we fed ourselves well with Taisho (Japanese bbq on skewers as far as I understand) and what I assumed to be Mike’s Pastries equivalent of New York. Back in the hotel room, the laptop wifi wouldn’t connect even though Holiday Inn claimed they had it. The iPhones were useful in looking up on when we needed to get to the half priced ticket booth and which shows were our top choices.

Day 2.
After getting the tickets, we headed out to Guggenheim and in the subway tunnel deep underground, GoogleMaps lost the cached directions. I panicked for a few minutes, then I remembered NYC Way app had the maps saved offline. I really thought I was going to be writing a glowing review for them while I was waiting for the app to load.  After I loaded the maps, they came up blank. And I just went with my guts and it was fine.
Then we saw Chicago and headed back home after stopping by Soho once more to return some purchases that were regrettable (no, not the fish scale dress!)

On the bus ride home
I wrote this post in Evernote but I should have an offline blog post editor for the future. I wanted to make sure I don’t miss both of my commitments and post this before tonight is technically over.

Here is my must-have list.
1. iPhone and Charger (Bring the charger with you on person)
2. GoogleMaps app
3. Evernote app
4. Yelp app

Note to self for future NY trips
These are the two things I could have done to make it even easier next time.
1. Load all the major places into Google Maps Bookmarks
2. Save NYC Subway map into Evernote account and mark it as a Favorite for offline use

Before heading out on the trip, I was quite excited by the prospect of NYC Way app showing me high res NY subway map on an iPad.  But would an iPad actually make a better device to take on a trip? iPad 3G could have helped with looking up or booking Broadway tickets when our hotel wifi wasn’t working as advertised. But during this trip that required a lot of walking and subway rides, I walked around with my phone in my hand staring at GoogleMap and walking at the same time. That would have looked pretty odd with an iPad in my hand. More importantly, the ruthless pedestrians in New York would have knocked it off my hand in the first hour.  Although, I really wish my iPhone had the battery life of an iPad.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
| May 24th, 2010 | Posted in General |

Leave a Reply