A smart phone helps you find free condoms, serious discounts and even the details on the nearest happy hour. Free apps are super great, right? But as a fellow money conservationist, you probably noticed the quality of many free apps available lately has been way down (here’s looking at you, Talking Tom Cat). They crash, or are a limited “lite” version, or just have horrible graphics. With more than 400,000 apps available from iTunes, the free little gems are easy to overlook. To separate the great apps from the cr-apps (I mean, seriously), Brokelyn waded through the iTunes bargain bin and compiled a list of useful ones you might’ve missed that will help you save money and time in Brooklyn, more so than a free sex positions game, at least.
(All the apps listed are free but for the iPhone only. Sorry Droid noids.).
If you want to check out the museum for art, hip-hop Native American dance parties, or simply to hit Andy Warhol in the face, you can use this handy dandy app for all the latest info on events, exhibits and First Saturdays details. If you’re a competitive person, it also comes with a Gallery Tag game: Challenge a 12-year-old, then destroy them with your superior hand-eye coordination.
Best feature: Bklyn Muse: you can look up any piece in the museum and all of it’s information is on your phone. No need to sigh at the slow readers blocking the sign.
Not only does this app list all of the bike shops near you, it also provides bike routes, and locates bike racks. If a new bike shop opens, or a new bike rack is put down, you can add it to the app. The app will then update the information for all it’s users. No word on if the bike routes update when certain neighborhoods decide to paint over your biking dreams, however.
Best feature: Bike map. The color-coded route let’s you know when you are on a greenway, bike lane, or a street with no lane.
Brooklyn Bowl has the bowling/bar/venue thing down. They have so many great shows, plus screen-laden bowling lanes you’d only see in a Justin Bieber video. Now those cats have an app: Not only does it have an events calendar, and the option to send tickets directly to your phone, but it has a lighter feature for you to hold up, sway along, and still be ironic. This does not make it OK for you to scream “Free Bird,” ah thankyouverymuch.
Best feature: Ticket purchasing.
KEXP and WFMU
This is not of-the-borough, per se, but having some of Brooklyn’s favorite radio stations available on your smart phone is great for when you’re at home, on a road trip, or sneaking your ear buds in at work. Seattle’s KEXP offers a simpler app with streaming, playlist information, and a tag your favorites option. Jersey City based WFMU offers live streaming, archives, podcasts, schedules, upcoming events and station news. WFMU also allows you to exit the application, and still stream. Win!
Best feature: KEXP’s playlist,WFMU’s archive.
Of course, the subway apps that MTA offers cost money (some are $4.99). All of these apps follow the timetables, so they do not update if a train is late or early. All of them also have service alerts. NextStop by Brooklyn App Factory gives you all these things for free, and with an easy to use interface.
Best feature: Can be used offline and has service alerts, unlike Google Maps.
DOG PARK FINDER
This app by DogGoes.com has more than 2,500 dog parks listed along with user reviews, detailed information, and pictures. They might be missing a certain Bed-Stuy dog park, but considering all of the other locators cost money and also exclude the same park, it’s a pretty handy tool for you and your pup.
Best feature: User photos and reviews. It sucks when you get there and you find that your dog can fit through the fence. Research!
Honorable Mention: IPARKS NY
Yes, this app does cost $2.99 but it’s for the park’s department, and you know, they need it. This app lists all the parks in NYC, their amenities, events, bike maps and ratings. You can also find historical houses, bocce courts, and — wait, there are cricket fields in Brooklyn? What?
Best feature: Event listings, especially since the nice weather will be coming up soon.
We are not the App gods, so if we missed anything that you find super useful, please list them in the comments!