By TW McDermott
Isn’t it amazing how technology has transformed our lives? With the rise of app development companies, it seems like there’s a new app for everything these days. From connecting with friends and family to managing your pets’ social lives, these apps have become an integral part of our daily routines. It’s almost overwhelming to keep up with the constant influx of new applications. Have you ever wondered how people manage to find the time to download and learn to use all of these apps? It’s as if they’ve mastered the art of multitasking, even doing it while driving, all thanks to the innovations brought to us by app developers.
But, we have had “apps” in our lives for longer than it takes these days for a start-up to do an IPO, ignore generally accepted accounting principles, tank, and be replaced by another app developed by an Ivy drop-out, who can’t be bothered to tuck-in his shirttail.
As a public service, here’s a reminder of several of our most dependable analog apps.
Dining: Hot Dog App
Talk about the perfect app for the digital age. If you take it out of its bun and hold it straight up, it looks just like a 1. Let’s be very clear, we are speaking here about a very specific hot dog app purchased at a street site from a cart, truck or actual “weenie-mobile.” We are not talking about those packaged things in the grocery, those rip-off pretenders at the ballgame, or from cute local pagoda-like emporiums and such.
This app may be downloaded in many areas in and around New York City or any major city. In fact, if your city doesn’t have a downloadable hot dog site, it is not major.
I downloaded one recently on Fifth Avenue near 79th Street. Delicious. A high proportion of NYC site administrators are Egyptian, but Arabic is not required to download. Also, many sites offer add-ons like mustard, sauerkraut or chili. Basic cost: $1.50-$2 per download.
Gardening/Home: Lawn Mower App
This ingenious application is a throwback like those special photo apps that allow your phone or camera to take photos that look like ones from an old Kodak Brownie or Polaroid Land. Many of you will not even know that the best lawn mowers ever engineered did not require a major purchase of petroleum products (only a very minor “4 in 1” lube of blades and wheels) and actually made a very pleasant sound as users pushed them across their lawns. Not only that, but the patented blade hardware sliced the grass in a way that allowed it to release the lawn’s secret fragrances into the air. Ah, Chanel No. 50! Cost: free, if grandpa/ma has one in the garage (may need lube), $8-25 at various tag sale sites, $99.99 new at SunJoe.com.
Travel: Staten Island Ferry App
This is, without a doubt, the best travel value app for the New York metropolitan area, even better than the subway app and much cleaner. Many tourists, especially Europeans, when they could afford to visit back in the day before they imported American financial not-know-how and went broke, used to waste time and money on fancy-schmancy yachts, circling and circling.
This wonderful application is super-efficient. In one round trip, you’ve got your close-up view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn, Lower (and original) Manhattan from the harbor, the Hudson and East Rivers, plus the harbor itself … the whole shebang in an hour or less! And, we haven’t even mentioned views of New Jersey and Staten Island, but why would we? Excited? Well, here is the best thing about this app. Cost: free (not kidding, since 1997) from download site at Whitehall Street in Manhattan or St. George S.I. if, for some really strange reason, you must begin on Staten Island.
Learning/Education: The Library App
Every day we read about the demise of the book and the publishing industry. What did we think would happen to an industry based on a singular idea: the expense account two-martini lunch at exclusive Manhattan restaurants?
Meanwhile, formerly sleepy libraries have morphed into shared office space for the start-up of me and you, on/offline business and educational research centers, full-service business centers, and, they also have books and periodicals. The term “librarian” no longer begins to describe this multi-tasking job at these sites that “get it.”
The cost to you? Free downloads at the counter. Take that Amazon and Apple! Maybe the Department of Justice will get after these library folk soon? But, remember, while free at the counter, these are community-owned apps, so be generous in your support, when they ask.
Travel: Midtown NYC Public Rest Room App
Venture Cap firms kept this one a big secret for years, since so many of them had trouble finding a place to do their business while in town on business. This app is,
honestly, still not widely available, which makes the sites still so valuable. Also, since everything, and we mean everything in NYC gets politicized, even you know what, you will not see public facilities on the streets like in Paris, since the city has never been able to find a street-potty app friendly enough for heavy wheelchair use.
Here is a sample: Site 1. Grand Central Terminal, Lower Level; be smart about this and use the one near the southeast corner of the lower level; it is cleaner than the one on the west side, and the hand driers actually dry your hands. All European tourists, back in the day (see above), used this particular app site. Cost: free. Other secret private app sites are available on special request, since this is a family-owned paper and can’t sustain lawsuits resulting from well-intended but overzealous reporting.