The New York Times has joined the iPhone travel apps ranks with The Scoop, their insider’s guide to the creme de la creme of New York City dining, drinking and events. NY Times critics and editors share their picks and reviews of the best Manhattan has to offer in quick lists that are updated regularly, like the Sifty 50 from restaurant critic Sam Sifton, The Top Shelf (bars by Steve Wells), and The Filter (coffee joints by Oliver Strand).
Other lists include Only in NY (my favourite for the recommendations not being so obvious), events (theatre, concerts), shopping and day trips. Each list contains about 50 to 70 locations. The app is free for download at iTunes and also compatible with iPad and iTouch. After giving it a test drive, here’s the scoop on the app’s pros and cons.
What’s to Love
Decidedly upmarket, the critics’ picks for restaurants, bars and events are some of the best in the city and a good mix of popular, trendy and new discoveries. It’s the perfect short list for business and leisure visitors looking for a quick fix for the evening.
In addition to seeing all locations on a list mapped out with red pins via Google maps, the GPS locates you and calculates the distance instantly to any reviewed location and provides directions.
Where applicable there’s a link to the New York Times review and the individual descriptions on the app are well done and accurate, like this one for the Ace Hotel Lobby Bar:
“The new office-slash-clubhouse for the fashion-y digital set. There is actually a bar here, way at the back of this sprawling, dark space, but most of the drinking is done among the attractively beat-up couches and library tables where bloggers ply their trade. Order up a cocktail or a can of Porkslap Ale, and make sure you Tweet about it. #killerfrenchfriestoo”
Only in NY:
Updated for the season, this is a great list of things to do that are unique to NYC. I applaud the diversity, there are several recommendations that are likely new to visitors and New Yorkers such as Thursday night gallery openings in Chelsea, lunch at the UN Delegates’ dining room, soak at a Korean day spa, Art from the Q train, Gospel music on Sundays, just to name a few.
Keep track of the places you’ve gone, check in on Foursquare and share what you’ve done on Facebook, Twitter, and text messages.
It’s genius to include a list of coffee joints to begin with, but this one’s that much better by the fact that there are no Starbucks on the list. An extremely useful tool for scheduling business meetings or catching up with friends.
Not So Much
The app is slow to load and move around, which can be frustrating when you’re standing on the street and want instant results.
There are regular updates, some faster than others, with the best being the events section, however it would be great to see more bars and restaurants added. Also geographic coverage is limited, the app is mostly a Manhattan tool (vs the boroughs), and if you’re looking for locations on the UWS or UES, forget it.
The search function is bare bones, a factor that could become increasingly annoying as more data is made available.
Not the most robust NYC app, but it’s a quick resource from the experts in NYC dining and events with excellent and unique recommendations. The fact that it’s free makes it a worthwhile addition to your app collection.
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