I was asked to check out the new iPhone app from Not For Tourists. It’s like a mini-Yelp, a self-described “ultimate guide for the savvy city-dweller.” So far, there are three editions: Manhattan, San Francisco and London. My gut reaction was “why is this better than the Yelp iPhone application?” And now I realize that I have to back up: do you know what Yelp is?
Yelp is like a new-fangled Zagat guide of EVERYTHING. Dentists, restaurants, parks — you name it, Yelpers have written reviews about it. (Unless you’re in a city like say, Boise.) And unlike Zagat, Yelp does not edit their users’ reviews so you get the whole shebang of what people thought. Some helpful, some mean, some are friends of the owner of the restaurant being reviewed, some are just having a bad day and taking it out on the coffee shop — but it’s pretty easy to read between the lines with just a little experience.
So, back to NFT. The organization on the app is well done: you can search by neighborhood, by category (restaurant, hotel, hospital) and then when you figure out where you want to go, you can search for other places nearby. You can even bookmark your faves. The one crucial category that they left out is “Bathrooms.” It’s so key to know where the good bathrooms are in New York, even if you live and work there. (Free tip: Best Bathroom is in Henri Bendel’s on 5th, downstairs. It’s like a studio apartment.)
Here’s why it’s worth $4.99 for the app: you don’t have to be online to get the information, like you do with Yelp. This is helpful if you’re somewhere in New York and can’t get a signal. Or don’t want to pay for a signal. Whenever you sync your iPhone, it will update the information. That’s nice. And even when I was an expert on Manhattan, you really can’t know EVERYTHING. The downside is that there is not a conglomoration of reviews like on Yelp — but then again, do you really need to read 170 reviews about Hotel Gansevoort when you’re on-the-go? Do that at home. On Yelp.
I say get it. At the very least, it’s good entertainment on the subway for all of you closet know-it-alls. And you know who you are.