06/12/12

Catch an Expeditious App and Put It In Your Pocket!

Geolocation is integrated into Fodor's City Guide apps.

Six cities have updated wanderlusting apps from Fodor’s Travel, who has announced the re-launch of their City Guide apps for iPhone and iPad (Nook and Android versions are in the works). The free apps now integrate partner functionality from Expedia, OpenTable and Ticketmaster, and are available for New York City, Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona and San Francisco. They offer geolocation features and interactive offline maps, which are powered by developer Red Foundry’s new Fusion Platform, the world’s first network uniting app developers and publishers with service providers.

Travelers can book hotels through the Expedia Affiliate Network, make dinner plans with OpenTable, and buy show and concert tickets through TicketsNow, Ticketmaster’s resale marketplace. The geolocation features allow sojourners to see what is nearby by interest—categories include what to see, what to eat, shopping, nightlife/arts, and where to stay.

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is a trendsetter's alternative to Little Italy in Manhattan. Photo by Paul Clemence.

I decided to take the New York City app for a test drive on my iPad, and it nailed my location quickly. I agreed with many of the “what to see” listings it put up, several of which I would recommend for tourists visiting NYC who want more than the usual suspects of places to see. One of which was Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, which my pal and architectural photographer Paul Clemence has photographed so eloquently, as the above photo proves.

Fodor's City Guide Apps Offer OpenTable Reservations.

The “what to eat” suggestions were a bit all over the place but I did ask for the best recommendations in New York City without determining a culinary style, and the fact that they could narrow it down as tightly as they did impressed me! Shopping brought up everything from Betsey Johnson in SoHo to Beads of Paradise in the Flatiron District and the Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn, which I have frequented (and give the app a high five for referencing).

The oh-so-edgy tiki bar Painkiller wasn’t listed under “Nightlife & the Arts” (though I’ll admit, it would probably cause anyone who is less than an intrepid traveler to freak out when standing on the street in front of the bar’s address and see no discernable sign of a party until someone entering or exiting opened the graffiti panel serving as the venue’s door)-steamy! Pegu Club is there—excellent sourcing by featuring this mixology-driven venue, Fodor’s.

The Lower East Side has its own version of a hip, Parisian cafe for writers and filmmakers to hang.

Kudos to the travel experts for listing the Pink Pony on the Lower East Side. Any café with a mural of Arthur Rimbaud on the wall and a tagline like “Café Littéraire & Ciné Club” is high on my “kicky and quirky venues” list, which we locals pride ourselves in compiling for those times we want something out-of-the-ordinary. The Field Notes section is great—the perfect place for accumulating the lists you’d like to share with friends who will be visitng the same city or for resourcing your highlights the next time Hērmēs, the god of travel, wings you to the same town.

Sax in the City has only one request of the developers: I would like to have seen an easier search function for places by name. Those of us who travel frequently, especially travel journalists who are writing about cities, often go armed with recommendations for venues to experience. This app only allows search by previously determined categories unless it’s not obvious and if it’s not obvious to me someone using this level of technology for the first time wouldn’t likely find it. That said, these apps are definitely well worth the time it takes to download them. Off I go to Paris (if only)!

04/8/10
Terry Riley with Max (photo by Robin Hill (c) see web site below)

Terence Riley Skips the Pop Stops!

Terry Riley with Max (photo by Robin Hill (c) see web site below)

In March 2006, Terence Riley left his position as the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York to take over as Director of the Miami Art Museum. He recently relinquished that position after leading the museum through the complicated process of completing the architectural plans for MAM’s new building. He has returned to private practice in his architectural firm with John Keenan with new projects in Hangzhou, China; the Hamptons; and Florida.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry and his partner John Bennett for Miami Magazine’s March/April issue. See the profile here, but first read on for an earlier foray into the mind of the Swatch-wearing, Techno-rocker, who responded to our purposeful prodding with wonderful wit. Worst outfit you’ve ever been caught wearing: “I am missing the casual clothes gene. I prefer business suits or shorts and flip-flops. A lot of people in Miami have a highly developed sense of something in between and I get some stares when I show up in restaurants looking like a beach-bound tourist. I will definitely have to work on this.”

What you hope to never see on the walls at MAM: “Orange shag carpeting.” Favorite piece of architecture: “Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion. It is still shockingly beautiful to me.” Favorite Documentary: “Paris Is Burning opened my eyes in ways that most films don’t.” Rocker or Pop Music Fan: “I think it would be best to say that as a teenager I took the Rock express, skipped the Pop stops and didn’t get off until Techno.”

On his roll in spearheading a major building project: “It is always a challenge to manage a project well, but we have loftier goals in addition to bringing it in on time and on budget. I won’t consider it a real success unless it is a great museum, a wonderful piece of architecture, and a catalyst in the transformation of Bicentennial Park from a deserted and dangerous wasteland to a vibrant urban space. To me, that is the sort of challenge that tests the power of architecture to build cities.”

Most Satisfying Meal You Can Remember: “Not madeleines, if you know what I mean. I don’t get all misty-eyed about food but I do remember a multi-course extravaganza in Kyoto in a historic inn. The food was terrific but it was the whole experience that made it so memorable: a private room with tatami mats overlooking a traditional garden, the prefect floral arrangement, etc.” Most surreal experience you’ve ever had in an airport: “Do train stations count? When I was in college, I arrived at Rome’s central station after an all-nighter from Paris. Still groggy, I was shocked to see the station covered with posters that said, ‘Welcome, Terry Riley.’ This is when I learned there is a minimalist musician with the same name.”

Most Important Curatorial Advancement During Your Career: “I went to school and began my architectural career during the height of post-modernism—which I hated. Virtually everything I did curatorially was intended to make people rethink modernism and its unrealized potential. There were a lot of factors involved, of course, but I like to think I was able to contribute to the current climate, which has been described as having a ‘renewed adherence to the spirit of the age.’” Favorite Piece of Jewelry: “My standard black, plastic Swatch. For forty bucks, you too can enjoy this masterpiece.”

Image of Terence Riley and Max by Robin Hill.