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)!

05/14/11

Wasted on The Way (Again?)

We at Roaming by Design have an exciting announcement to make during this incredibly energetic week in NYC. As the design world comes to the city for ICFF, we are launching our new social media consultancy, Adroyt. Our first event was last evening, when we were invited by our marketing communications friends at VP+C to join them for the grand opening of Arhaus Furniture’s first foothold in NYC last night. Arhaus adds this impressive presence to their roster of 37 other retail stores, in celebration of their remarkable 25 years in business and timed to coincide with ICFF’s design juggernaut arriving in town.. They deliver remarkable quality, value, and extraordinary variety, desporting themselves admirably with this new venture situated in the MePa district of the Big Apple.

We were met at the entrance of their dazzling 28,000 sq.ft. showroom by Michelle Shen and Josh Schoenfelder from VP+C, based in Manhattan. After passing muster (no TSA here!), we were ushered in to join nearly 600 guests, relishing the hors d’oeuvres and sipping wine or mintinis (!) as they wandered the lush displays. Anticipation was hanging in the air for the highpoint of the evening: a performance by Graham Nash and David Crosby.

We had a very interesting conversation with CIO (that’s Chief Information Officer for you non-corporate types) Ron Kerensky and his wife Kendra, about the place of social media in today’s marketing milieu. He  also quoted CEO John P. Reed with reference to his conviction that “retail is theater” – presentation matters: the company employs a staff of circuit-riding designers to keep the showrooms fresh and engaging. The “theater” tag was born out dramatically at 7:30 when John Reed introduced the musical guests and Crosby Nash took the stage, to cheers and, yes, there were screams…