Listing lists: Websites facilitating NYC life

1. Hopstop: http://www.hopstop.com/
2. Seamless: http://www.seamless.com/
3. Airbnb: http://www.airbnb.com/

1. NYC is huge, and despite an extensive 24/7 public transit system ranking among the most advanced in the world (and the oldest, too), connecting the tri-state metropolitan area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, it easily proves overwhelming when you start planning your trips beyond the immediate surroundings. The most reliable and simple way to navigate the city is Hopstop, always up-to-date, at day, at night, including real-time information on the service status of all lines, i.e. delays, service changes and cancellations. In addition, it provides alternative routes, schedules and transfers, and helps its users step by step, with maps and itineraries, for the traveller planning or checking his trips ahead of time. Less user-friendly proves MTA’s info page, and Google Maps is great for its street view feature, but useless for mapping out your routes.

2. Ordering food is tempting after a long day on tour or at work in the office, particularly given the negligent state of many Manhattan kitchenettes, which, often lacking basic utensils such as cooking knives and boards, turn food preparation much more into a challenge and ordeal than daily routine or artisan hobby. With Seamless, hundreds of restaurants, take-aways and other food joints in the immediate neighbourhood are at hand by instant online ordering, without the hassle of busy lines and phone miscommunication – and no awkward discussions about the amount of tipping, due to advance payment by credit card via Seamless’ system. Providing reviews and recommendations, photos, menus and detailed descriptions of the dishes, this site makes choosing (and bookmarking) your favourites and culinary hotspots awfully simple. And re-ordering even more tempting.

3. The NYC market for vacational rentals is stock full of schemes and scams, which renders any search for an (short-term) apartment from outside New York a vabanque, i.e. a risky enterprise, which in turn can get you to find yourself in front of an empty lot upon arrival instead of the shiny, newly refurbished flat you chose for your stay. Fraud is rampant, and Google’s search results unfortunately push some of the most shady and frivolous offers to the top. Airbnb‘s design as a social community, enhancing (or corrupting, depending on your point of view) the concept of couchsurfing by facilitating rentals among strangers and friends, is a huge step forward. Reviews for hosts and guests, a secure payment system holding transactions for 24 hours to prevent rip-offs, and verification features for profiles and apartments are among the mechanisms put in place, to make you feel better about choosing a place to stay and venturing into the unknown.

Category: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , | estienne210 Comment »


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