New York City — certainly as a tourist, but even as a resident — can be difficult to navigate. There are so many streets, cultural destinations of importance, clubs, restaurants and even boroughs! Sometimes a little direction would be nice — a few tips, a heads up, a fabulous recommendation. The list below leads you to exactly where to find all of those helpful hints and more.
NYC Way (Free)
Pretty all-encompassing, NYC Way provides you with loads of information integral to making your everyday easier. Find wifi locations in your local area, including which spots have free access and which ones are fee-based. Search restaurants by neighborhood, cuisine, food type and special features — outdoor seating, kid-friendly and group friendly, to name a few. Search for "things to do," from hiking to museums to cultural centers. If you get hungry in transit, you can look up what street-food vendors are nearby, and if you're in need of a coffee refresher or a bathroom, NYC Way will lead the "way," as well.
NYC Restaurant Scrutinizer (99 cents)
After video was found of rats running amuck at a NYC KFC/Taco Bell a few years ago, and in light of all the recent food recalls, people want to know what they're eating. Now, NYC residents can scrutinize their dinner prospects before making a final decision. Heard mixed reviews about the Northern Italian restaurant in the neighborhood nearby? Not sure if the smell in your local Chinese food joint is the food, or . . .? With NYC Restaurant Scrutinizer, simply type in the name of the place in question and this app will tell you if it has violated any health codes. As well, you can also read reviews of the restaurant on Yelp, call or email them, or map the location.
NYC Cheap Eats ($2.99)
Not only do New Yorkers want their food from restaurants free of any health code violations, they like cheap, too. The NYC Cheap Eats app presents their cheap food recommendations alphabetically in list form or, get this, via a slide show where you can flip through 1,978 images of delectable, inexpensive dining options. Adding to my “must check out soon” list of NYC eateries thanks to this app: Sigmund Pretzel Shop (Avenue B between 2 and 3) — they have a pretzel sandwich!; and Cake & Shake (@ Washington Square Park and MoMA) which makes cupcakes inspired by the Whatchamacallit candy bar — see you tomorrow . . . or even sooner.
NYC Traffic Info (Free)
For every time I think it doesn't matter when you leave because there's always the risk of running into traffic, I now know there's a more calculated approach to take than "whatever happens, happens." That method, believe it or not, doesn't always yield positive — or calm — results. Luckily, the NYC Traffic Info app has a list of available street cameras organized by borough. Click on one that's relevant to you, and add it to your list so you can always check its status without starting from scratch. Additionally, a super cool aspect of this (again, free) app is you can track the camera closest to you on your app; every few seconds the app resends an updated picture of just what the area in question looks like. Never take a road trip without this app!
Beer Gardens NYC ($1.99)
For the first few years I lived in NYC, I always heard about the "famous beer garden in Astoria, you just have to check it out!" I had never been to Astoria before, and when I finally made the trek, I knew it was worth it — this was the only beer garden I had ever heard anyone mention. It turns out there are quite a few more, and you can learn about them all from the Beer Gardens NYC app which allows you to search by location or types of beers; or if you'd prefer, you can view them all. However you search, each listing includes a lengthy description of the spot, the amount of drafts and bottles and the address and phone number.
Sex and the City NYC Sites ($1.99)
This app is somewhat of a guilty pleasure, but still an NYC essential. Years after the show has been off the air, I still occasionally wonder, where exactly did that S&TC tour bus go aside from past Magnolia Bakery? The closest place to me that the S&TC cast has dined at is Sea, the Thai restaurant in Williamsburg (I do not remember that episode!). There is also Il Cantinori where Carrie has a birthday party no one attends; Bryant Park, where the crew meets for lunch one afternoon; and Monkey Bar, where Carrie goes with Big on a non-date. View the full list or narrow it down by categories — Bars and Clubs, Rites of Passage and Street Scenes, etc. If only each location referenced the exact scene and episode in which it appeared, then it would be perfect.