March 23, 2011

iPhone Apps for New York Culture On the Go

For those wanting to know more about the Met's exhibit on guitar craftsmen, the latest Public Art Fund's installation in Central Park, the history of the Flatiron Building, ticket availability for Wednesday's matinees on Broadway, or hear a favorite chamber music performance at Lincoln Center,  just pull out the smart phone. Yes, "there's an app for that," to quote Apple's now popular and trademarked phrase. Several New York institutions and publications have jumped on the mobile bandwagon by developing apps to supplement your culture on the go. Here are several worth downloading.

The links provided below connect to their iTunes previews. Prices listed for the apps, where applicable, are subject to change. A few of these apps are available for the iPad and iPod touch, as well as other operating systems including Android.

•  Asian Art New York
This monthly guide by Asian Art Newspaper to Asian and Islamic art in galleries, auction houses and museums, searchable by names and categories, is especially helpful during Asian Art Week (March 22-25) but good for the rest of the year. The comprehensive exhibition listings, going beyond New York City, serves as a good reminder to check out several must-see exhibits at the Japan Society and the Rubin Museum, for example, but also works at the China Institute Gallery and the Museum of Chinese in America. Price: $0.99

•  Brooklyn Museum Mobile
Brooklyn Museum's straightforward app provides boiler plate press releases of exhibitions and a useful calendar of events with brief descriptions. The special feature on Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party, the feminist landmark artwork installed in the museum, includes biographies of all the women invited to the table. Kids can play the "Gallery Tag" game, accumulating points for spotting fruits, dogs, flowers, and more in the artworks. Free.

•  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Highly Recommended. For fans of chamber music, Instant Encore's app presents a musical guide to events and performances by the society. The event guide connects to ticket purchases or a phone call to the box office, plus the location and program. Plug in the earphone to hear Chamber Music Society Radio or one of several featured performances of classical composers or work by new composers. Videos are included, including the humorous educational presentation, 'Where Are My Keys?" Free.

CultureNOW
The guide to public art and architecture by Museum Without Walls is most useful for its pre-set tours covering areas of the city rich in pubic art. Themed tours such as a walking tour of 125th Street or Public Art in Midtown include informed descriptions, a podcast, and map. Public art in other cities are included, so as a word of warning to New Yorkers, entering a vague search term may turn up a public monument in Minneapolis or Milwaukee. $1.99. Their Downtown Manhattan iPhone app is free.

Met Guitars
Highly Recommended. The first app developed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a great one at that, accompanies the exhibit Guitar Heroes - Legendary Craftsman from Italy to New York. The multimedia app highlights the art of handcrafted jazz guitars of the last seven decades by John D’Angelico (1905-1964), James D’Aquisto (1935-95) and John Monteleone (born 1947), yet the app, like the exhibit, explores the great tradition of luthiers. The app can work as a stand alone appreciation of the beautiful instruments, certainly enhanced by the recordings, but these guitars are best seen in person at the museum. Free.

New York City Center
The center's app serves mainly as an event guide of daily listings and a gateway for ticket purchases to the center on W. 55th Street. Useful for knowing what's on but could be improved with descriptions of the events. Free.

New York. Domus Architecture Guides
Highly Recommended. At $4.99, it's pricey for an app, but this informed and well-written mobile guide to the city's best modern architecture is worth it. A select number of buildings get a succinct treatment, but the descriptions will let you pass any test in modernism. Learn about structures like the Modulighter Building on East 58th St., one of Paul Rudolph's last buildings with its "puzzle-like facade," or Tadao Ando's design for Morimoto on 10th Avenue. Or consult the useful map to explore modern buildings nearby. Price: $4.99

•  NYC ARTS. Alliance for the Arts
Highly Recommended.This app by Alliance for the Arts invites an exploration of NY cultural events occurring in the next three days and, based on the user's current location, within walking distance. The combination of time and location proves highly motivating, inviting a no-excuses presence at cultural events nearby. Or choose a neighborhood to wander, find the exhibits and performances, and just go. Certainly, no excuses - the app is free. Free.

•  Public Art Fund
In collaboration with Tours d'Art, the Public Art Fun has developed an app to access information about the fund's past and present public art installations in the city. At this time, just one current piece is featured - "Empire" by Eva Rothschild, an interpretation of a gate to Central Park. but the good multimedia guide with images, an audio recording, and a map helps the viewer appreciate the work. Free.

TKTS
Highly Recommended. As advertised, this official TKTS app is the best way to get current information about discounted theater tickets available at the TKTS booths. In fact, the app links with the information displayed on the boards at all three locations - Times Square, South Street Seaport, and Downtown Brooklyn. Includes a show search for Broadway and Off- and Off-Off Broadway, and an online magazine. The app includes descriptions of each play and musical, allowing the frugal theater-goer to make the wise selection. Be sure to check out the "Tips" feature, and follow their advice. Also available for Android. Price: $0.99

Note: For additional recommendations for New York culture apps, including ones described in earlier posts (i.e. MoMA, New York Philharmonic), please see Walking Off the Big Apple's devoted page to Apps/Maps. Also, this website is fully streamlined for mobile. Enter the site address in your phone, or search for "Walking Off the Big Apple," and you'll find an easy-on-the eyes mobile version. Includes the self-guided maps where applicable, a handy feature while strolling. Bookmark this app guide for easy reference.

2 comments:

Angela Rutherford said...

Another great free iPhone App to check out is The Scoop, an inside guide to New York by The New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/thescoop/

Joe said...

Thank you for the wonderful coverage of the NYC ARTS iPhone app!