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Reality doesn't get more real: 2 iPhone views of the NYC subway

There are two bits of knowledge that all native New Yorkers are gifted with: where to get "the best" pizza (Grimaldi's on the Brooklyn waterfront, in case you were wondering), and where to stand on the subway platform so as to arrive at the destination station in exactly the right spot to exit ahead of the rush. While this sometimes leads to bunching and crowding in the desirable cars, it ends up saving a lot of time and aggravation on the far side.

If you aren't a veteran straphanger, you can simulate the expertise of the locals with Exit Strategy NYC, a $1.99 iPhone app that tells you where to stand based on your destination station. The app is straightforward: select your train line and your direction of travel, then pick your arrival choice from the list. You'll get a clear diagram of the exit locations, along with the conductor's position in the train (great for late-night trips) and notes on any special circumstances, transfer options or wheelchair access.

In my tests, Exit Strategy matched my instincts pretty well with only a few hiccups (one exit that was closed for construction wasn't yet reflected in the app, but chances are us NYC residents wouldn't know that either). There is one drawback for outer-borough residents: while Manhattan and most near-to-downtown stations are included, some of the further-out stops, like my station along the R line in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, are not yet built in to the app. Still, Exit Strategy should definitely be part of your iPhone arsenal for a visit to the Big Apple. The demo video for the app is in the 2nd half of the post.

Despite their much-admired situational awareness, even NYC subway veterans sometimes get confused about where to find the nearest station -- and if you're a first time visitor, fuggedaboudit. For iPhone 3GS-enabled residents and tourists, it's about to get a lot easier: acrossair is offering an NYC version of the Nearest Tube augmented reality app, New York Nearest Subway.

Hold your iPhone flat and see a 2D map of the entire system... then lift it perpendicular to the ground, and the heads-up display mode shows you floating icons representing nearby stations, complete with line legends and walking distances. For anyone who's ever walked to a faraway subway stop only to realize that there was a much closer option, this is incredibly compelling. No word on price yet, and the app is awaiting approval; as noted, this app will only work on the 3GS, as the magnetometer is used to determine the direction the phone is facing.

If you've got preferred apps for navigating public transit in your city, pipe up in the comments.

[via Gadget Lab]

Here's the video for Exit Strategy:

Here's the video of NY Nearest Subway in action:

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