New York Minute: 4 iPhone apps for mastering the NYC subway system

Kristi Evans
Columnist from Money-Makin' Manhattan
Published: September 21, 2010

New Yorkers use public transportation every day and it can either be the bane of our existence or a cheap and easy way to get around the city that never sleeps. I enjoy not spending hours and hours behind the wheel of a car where you are limited to listening to the radio or books on tape (Oprah says no tweeting or texting while driving!) and the commute can actually be fun if you know how to get the most out of your smartphone. One day, New York will actually have cellular service underground and until then, these are 4 iPhone apps that put a little pep in my step on the way to the subway:

NYC Mate
FREE, by Densebrain, Inc.
The quintessential subway/bus//railroad/neighborhood map is here and it’s a worthwhile download for any NYC dweller or visitor. Clear, detailed, interactive maps are thorough and easy to use, making the tangled web of subway lines a a little less daunting. Even as a native New Yorker, I humbly admit that need a subway map quite often, especially when venturing into Brooklyn to check out the tornado damage, or into Queens to satisfy my urge for authentic Greek cuisine. Who knew that the subway was on a schedule? I always thought it was just random, but apparently this app has schooled me because by clicking on the station, you can view the schedule for the remainder of that day.  Metro-North or Long Island Railroad schedules are easily downloadable in the app as well.

Exit Strategy
$3.99, by JWeg Ventures, LLC
Next time you are standing on the subway platform watching rats gnaw on a crumpled beer can thinking “I wish I knew which car to stand in so I could be the first one off the train up the stairs,” remember this article. Exit Strategy is the greatest thing since sliced bread for straphangers. As long as you have a minute or two before the train comes, you can click on the destination station and choose either the uptown or downtown platform. The app will show you which doors in which cars open at the stairwells. I feel so slick and sneaky using it but who really wants to be stuck behind that guy? (We all know which guy I’m talking about).

The popular website now has an app, which is super helpful if know where you’re going, you just aren’t quite sure the best route to take. Type in your starting location and your destination and choose whether you’d prefer to ride the subway, bus or walk more. The app will calculate the best way to go, which is extremely helpful if you have to transfer to an unfamiliar line. Even the most experienced subway riders have to break out the HopStop app once in a while (no shame in our game!)

MIrror’s Edge
$4.99, EA
Okay, so I know this app has nothing to do with the subway, but it’s my favorite game of the moment for passing the time until you get where you’re going. You play as Faith, running, jumping and swinging across rooftops and underground levels, flying so fast it’s exhilarating. The graphics look beautiful on the iPhone 4 screen and the controls are less clumsy and more elegant than other games, using simple swipe motions to change her direction. The levels are short and sweet and the app is totally worth the money, if not just to make the hipster next to you jealous that he’s playing some boring chess game. And before you know it, you’re home.

Products mentioned