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February 17, 2009

NYC & Company's Digitized Visitor Information Center

Visit NYC
Photo: © Albert Vecerka/Esto.
All Rights Reserved.

by Liz Granger

Tourists, rejoice! Visitors to New York City can now bid adieu to the woefully conspicuous guidebook. NYC & Company has revamped its visitor information center, trading racks of brochures for eco-friendly digital kiosks.

I visited the new office this morning before work, and planned a personalized weekend itinerary of boutiques, bars, and spas (a broke girl can dream). I slid a "puck" across a large, waist-level map of Manhattan and the boroughs to find points-of-interest within 25 minutes of my puck's location. Enter Edith Machinist, Temple Bar, and the Russian & Turkish Baths. Once I finished selecting locations, I carried my puck over to a wall-sized screen. Like magic, when I placed my puck onto a nearby pylon, a flyover Google Map view of my itinerary appeared on the screen. Another pylon allowed me to print a color copy of my itinerary, complete with a map and contact information for each site.

Apart from the swanky minimalist interior, the best part about NYC & Co.'s updated information center is that you can email or text yourself data right from the site's kiosks. Instead of reading fan-fold maps on the subway, your smartphone displays all the information you need. Now nobody has to look like a tourist.

Further reading:
* If you like being conspicuous--and cute
* Amazing: Simple ideas done right


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