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Blend in with the locals using the NYC Subway by Embark Android app

by Michael Ian

Until the world cracks open and molten lava blankets the Earth, New Yorkers will always loathe tourists. Not all tourists however, specifically the ones at the bottom of the echelon. Souls that stop dead in the center of the sidewalk or subway station, map in hand and camera in the other, immobilized like a rock in a flowing river. In a city of over 8 million citizens on-the-move constantly, they constitute no more than road kill. Since Mayor Bloomberg has yet to reply to my letter concerning tourist-only sidewalks, NYC Subway by Embark should be a mandatory download for those looking for the Empire State experience.

The city that never sleeps has hundreds of events, bars and points of interest that it’s a wonder how one can fully get the New York experience. Fortunately, NYC Subway by Embark can help with a bit of time management. Tapping your desired station, you can track a train’s arrival and departure times for the day, perfect for timing your escape from subway panhandlers guilting you for a ‘donation.’ I’ve been using this feature extensively and suffice to say, it’s almost spot on. I say almost because the fault lies solely with the MTA (transportation service), though I found the delays to be relatively minor, only a few minutes behind the app’s scheduled time. Locals will love this feature as it’s the only app that does so.

Speaking of schedules, the app can also report up-to-the minute train delays. Resting on the bottom left corner of the screen, an exclamation mark acts as a notification providing details on diversions, express stops, and the ever common lack of services.

No one likes to be in a sketchy neighborhood. If you find yourself at Jamaica, Queens, past 12 A.M. among the population of the night, the app has you covered. Using your smartphone’s built in GPS, you can quickly locate the nearest subway station. Again, I’ve used this app over a number of months and it’s saved me from aimlessly walking around.

This app is not without faults, however. I found that it would constantly force close on my ASUS Transformer tablet. Attempts to locate stations resulted in crashes and tapping on a station rendered my tablet frozen, followed by a force close. Using it on a large 10.1 inch screen would be pretty silly anyway. Trip planning is better done on your phone.

All in all, NYC Subway by Embark, Inc. is the ideal tool for locals and tourist alike. Despite leaving a out a major part of the public transportation (buses), it’s spot-on train schedules and other features make this a one-stop shop for planning your next NYC trip.

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