Plugged in on Purchase Street and Beyond
“Who are you texting now?” I asked my 19-year-old son, a mantra that has usurped the erstwhile “could you put your clothes in the hamper?” One morning, however, my inquiry clocked in a little earlier than usual at 6:30 a.m. as Jason got ready for his summer job as a caddy.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
“Who are you texting now?” I asked my 19-year-old son, a mantra that has usurped the erstwhile “could you put your clothes in the hamper?” One morning, however, my inquiry clocked in a little earlier than usual at 6:30 a.m. as Jason got ready for his summer job as a caddy. “I’m texting my breakfast order to Jerry’s,” he replied nonchalantly as if that were the most ordinary thing in the world. “Their Post Road Egg is the best.”
It turns out that Jerry’s Post Road Market provides a service more and more patrons have been taking advantage of since last spring. Little did Jerry McGuire know when he opened his market in 1937 that patrons would be texting in their orders to 826-6817 and picking them up at an express pick-up counter 75 years later. His daughter-in-law Martha, who has owned Post Road Market with McGuire’s son Jerry since 1974, credits their daughter Mary Slater for the idea.
“It’s a sign of the times,” explained Martha. “It just gets tricky when they order iced coffee. We wait until they come before we put in the ice.”
Gladly leaving my son’s bacon, egg, and cheese with a hash brown to the experts, I decided to see just how plugged in Rye is. A texting generation with highly dexterous thumbs notwithstanding, it seems not that long ago we thought the banks’ ATM machines were high tech. Fast-forward to 2012 and we’re scanning our own merchandise at CVS and ordering groceries from on-line delivery services, i.e. Peapod or Fresh Direct.
All one has to do is peek into Starbucks, Cosi, Andy’s Pure Food, or Planet Pizza to see customers are not only enjoying their lattés, quinoa, or pepperoni slices but devouring their laptops, thanks to the eateries’ free Wi Fi service.
While filling up my car in town at Rye Brook Post Road Service, I discovered that Manager Nick Miele hears from his customers via texting on a regular basis. “I’ve got customers texting me all the time, checking on the status of their car repair,” he said. For years, he has been employing a Nextel to facilitate communication between the gas station and the service/collision center across the street. Today, he finds he utilizes his Blackberry for customers preferring the expedient communication that texting provides.
In the three years Wireless Zone has thrived on Purchase Street, Store Manager Efrain Rosario has seen a substantial increase in Smartphone usage. He observed, “Eighty percent of the Internet is going through Smartphones. It used to be that the email capabilities of a Blackberry were enough. Now, it’s email, texting, high speed Internet, apps, video games, and TV.”
Just when we thought these revolutionary mobile devices couldn’t possibly do more, Apple comes up with the new iPhone 4S featuring Siri, a virtual assistant that heeds commands. Although it has been met with mixed reviews, voice activation seems to be the wave of the not-so-distant future. According to Wireless Zone Sales Associate Darnell Phifer, Rye residents particularly like the iPhone’s international calling capabilities and its Mac compatibility. However, he added that their customers also gravitate towards the Androids, which utilize a faster processor that makes Internet data retrieval speedier. The Droid’s Jelly Bean contains software that adapts to the user’s habits and behavior, so it knows one’s next move beforehand!
Employing the latest technology for faster, reliable service, Rye’s realtors have elevated their performance with the iPad. Nancy Everett, an agent with William Raveis since 1995, has seen significant changes in her field. Most recently, the Apple tablet allows realtors to access specs easily during open houses and stay in constant contact with their clients. “I have my iPad with me all the time. When a client texts or calls me with a question, I can pull up the information wherever I am. The iPad has expanded our information-sharing capabilities and it’s a real time-saver,” she explained.
Commuters, too, are finding technology beneficial at a moment’s notice. These days, Metro North commuters can text 266266 or download the CooCoo transit app and request “Rye to Grand Central.” Within seconds, they will receive the schedule of the next three trains leaving the station.
Always ahead of the curve, community organizations have offered extensive, user-friendly websites for some time. The Rye YMCA, Rye Arts Center and Rye Recreation offer calendar of events, schedules, program descriptions and registration on-line.
The Rye Free Reading Room also offers a myriad of on-line services. Its website enables users of electronic readers, i.e. Kindle, Nook et al, to borrow e-books through the Westchester Library System. Readers who still prefer holding the binding of a book and leafing through pages that more closely resemble papyrus may access the library’s on-line catalog and put a hold on any book.
For more good news, teen librarian Bettyjane Surabian noted that the library’s extensive database has become quite popular with the younger set. “Kids can do their homework now even when the library is closed. Teachers do not want them using only websites for information, so with our database they have access to actual magazine and newspaper articles anytime,” she explained.
Just about all our businesses in town are relying more heavily on websites. In addition to Googling (how did that sneak into our lexicon?) any business in Rye, patrons have access to most merchants through their own websites or Facebook accounts. Retailers publicize the designers/brands they carry, display their merchandise and share news about upcoming events. Restaurant patrons may make a reservation to most eateries in town by logging on to their own sites or on to www.opentable.com, a service to which restaurants pay a subscription and reservation fees.
No doubt Rye is, indeed, well connected, even if not all of us know just where on earth that iCloud or Gmail stores all our information…outer space? Closer to home, our community newspaper, The Rye Record, is available on-line at www.ryerecord.com 24/7.