The App That Will Change Your Life
Behold, the future

Behold, the future

Several traveling tipsters have reported the awesome new MTA app will make your downtown ventures that much easier. The MTA Subway Time app basically displays the exact same information that’s on the overhead station clocks—the projected train arrival times, including any delays—except on your phone. As the helpful image to the right illustrates, you can see up to four trains in advance.

While the benefit of it being *on your phone* is enough to score a download, the eventually completed app would be particularly useful for those few stations that still don’t have the overhead timers (a.k.a all of the Brooklyn R stations ever). Station inequality aside, we can see this app actually being helpful in deciding how fast to sprint/powerwalk/stroll to the subway, although that implies a level of advance planning we never considered.

The test version of the app only has information for the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and S lines…but it’s not like Columbia students venture any farther than that. And to make this even more attractive to us, the MTA advertises the app as a motion towards “transparency,” proving that we’re not the only ones obsessed with the concept. We <3 NY.

Bwoglines: Marvels of Modern Technology Edition

Back in the day...

Technology ruined baseball.  And Times Square.  Or maybe that was Bloomberg and the throngs of tourists. Either way, Times Square is getting an overhaul to make it, if you can believe it, “minimalistic.” (NY Daily News)

In one of the most poorly kept secrets of all time, it’s official: Jay-Z and a small consortium of Russian billionaires are “moving the Nets to BK.” Same name, new stadium. (NYT)

Technology isn’t all that bad though; IBM and handful of other companies are planning on pumping $4 Billion research dollars into New York State. (CNET)

Your newly bought Macbook Pro is safe too! Three suspects have been arrested for snatching laptops after a joint operation with 26th Precinct and Columbia Public Safety, after thefts at Hartley, ADP, and Theta. (Spec)

Now you’ll finally be able to Tweet and update your status from the comfort of the 14th Street Subway Station with the arrival of AT&T and T-Mobile wireless. Don’t hold your breath on the remaining 271 stations; the rollout costs upwards of $200 million dollars and is expected to be completed in 2015. (Gothamist)

Retro Times Square via Wikimedia Commons

1920′s Trains About to Leave the Station, Permanently

For a second time, that is. HBO original series Boardwalk Empire paid the MTA three Columbia tuitions to run 1920′s era subway trains on the 2/3 line to publicize the show’s fall premiere. The promotion ends today, however, at 6pm. Now, simply find an excuse to go downtown.

Thanks to various tipsters for photos

MTA To Be MIA, Starting Noon Tomorrow

Don't bother waiting. It will never come.

If you planned on getting off campus tomorrow and enjoying the city one last time before Hurricane Irene sweeps through, be sure to make it back before noon! Governor Cuomo has ordered a complete shut down of MTA services starting at noon tomorrow. This means subways, buses, LIRR, and the Metro North will begin their final runs at noon and stop shortly thereafter. Seeing as New York is officially in a state of emergency, it probably wasn’t a very good idea to leave anyway. No word on when the MTA will be back up, but except services to be down at least through Sunday.

For Columbia-specific information about preparing for the day after tomorrow, keep checking the official updates from the school.

Bwoglines: Why, MTA, Why Part Deux

Don't do it!

Drama on 123rd Street. (NYT)

Three terrible words we’ve all grown far too accustomed to: planned service changes. (Gothamist)

Happiness comes to those who rarely carry cash. (Spec)

This is what happens when you tag subway cars. (Daily News)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Bwoglines: Why, MTA, Why Edition

Back in tha day

History professor Samuel Moyn’s book gets reviewed by the Times.

Barnard commencement may take place at Grant’s Tomb. (Spec)

The Mailman School of Public Health bashes bodegas. (UPI)

The MTA tries to ruin your weekend. Again. (Gothamist)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Bwoglines: Today Edition

Bogaevsky, Morning (1910), via Wikimedia

The appearance of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the WLF today has drawn some protest online. Will we see political activism on campus? (Various)

Why you skip class (kind of) and what to do about “anxiety-related school refusal”. (WSJ)

Not that this affects the vast majority of you campus-loving college students, but it looks like the unlimited MetroCard will stay unlimited, though it will jump to $104 from $89 per month. (NYT)

In slightly more exciting subway news, the MTA will add television screens to the shuttle train between Times Square and Grand Central. The screens will apparently exclusively show baseball highlights, so you’ll be able to pretend to watch Jeter & Co in the playoffs while trying to ignore homeless people. (WSJ)

Bloomberg is taking steps to attract and retain young artists in New York, the dirty art-grubbing plutocrat. (Capital NY)

1 Train Drama

Check the schedule before you leave the bubble this weekend!


Bwoglines: Walk Like A Man Edition

The Times recounts last night’s Fashion’s Night Out.

New MTA service change signs prove just as useless as before. (Gothamist)

The New York City Ballet wants you (to give them money). (WSJ)

Citibank helps their female employees avoid sabotaging their careers. (Gothamist)

Terry Jones graces the Today Show with his presence this morning. (WSJ)

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Bwoglines: Really? After All This Time Edition

The long-awaited Maoz on Broadway still causes a stir, along with a mention of NOM^3. (NYMag)

People still can’t figure out how to make those pesky MetroCards work. (WSJ)

The MTA budget is still being cut. (NYT)

New Yorkers still have no compassion for people dying on the streets. (BBC)

And we still cannot get rid of the asbestos. (NYT)

Photo via Wikimedia

Bwoglines: People in Hurries Edition

New Yorkers just like us never have to worry about missing the subway because of a Metrocard that just won’t swipe…  (NY Daily News)

…but for the keyless among us, there are new countdown clocks so we don’t miss the next train as well. (Gothamist)

Hurried pedestrians in the 34th Street area are in favor of the new pedestrian plaza… (NYT)

…but hurried bus, cab, and truck drivers aren’t. (Gothamist)

In case you didn’t know, cabbies like to speed. (NY Post)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Bwoglines: Fluctuation Edition

Crime goes up. (Gothamist)

A crane goes down. (NY1)

Met Opera budget goes up. (NYT)

MTA budget goes down. (NY Post)

Coyote population goes up (even more!). (NY Mag)

Lights go down. (NY Daily News)

Bwoglines or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Good morning, Columbia; or is it? While we dreamt the night away, the world descended ever further into the throes of chaos! See for yourself:

Hulu may begin charging for content in 2010, apparently because we haven’t been showing it enough love. (Huffington Post)

Mumps outbreaks in Brooklyn and New Jersey are linked to a common source: a bunch of crazy kids. (CBS)

According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, most graduate teaching schools are… well, just plain bad. (Spec)

Charmin offers $10,000 to anyone juvenile enough to staff and blog about their annual holiday bathrooms in Times Square. (NY Post)

Another $20 million is needed to get the new World Trade Center up and running. (NY Daily News)

And the MTA is taking a hint from the British in its attempt to update NYC’s public transportation system. Cross-cultural wackiness ensues. (NY Times)

A Mixture of Subways, Columbia Alumni, and iPhones

It’s two of the best-known rites-of-passage for any Columbian: the first time that you forgot to switch to the 1 train at 96th, and the first time someone who was staying with you forgot to switch. The latter, of course, is the funnier, especially if you tell your visitor the wrong directions back, but the former is annoying, and could even cost you a full two dollars $2.25 (still a full hot dog at some local stands!) if you don’t realize your mistake until you’re outside.

Yes, subways can be deceiving. Fear not, though, subway novices, for if you have enough money to spend on an iPhone/Blackberry/Android/Kindle, then you can buy the new iPhone subway app from an start-up company called Exit Strategy NYC. While it admittedly won’t prevent such boneheadedness as missing your stop, it will save you time: the app – created by ten weeks of riding the entire subway system – tells users which car will be the closest to another line or an exit.

Still, this is just an smartphone app – why mention it here? Because the app, which was blurbed in CityRoom and amNY, was conceived/programmed by two former Columbia students – Jonathan Wegener, CC ’07 and Benny Wong, SEAS ’07. Though CityRoom says Wegener had no experience in developing a mobile application, neither alum was a web neophyte while on campus – Wong’s LinkedIn profile says he worked for CUIT (and is now at Morgan Stanley), while Wegener used to run the original Columbia-specific website, CULPA. That’s using your education.

UPDATE: Wegener got in touch with us to stress that the application does not have a map of the subway system, an impression the first version of this post mistakenly gave (Google’s handled much of the actual mapping). He also provided us with a sample image, and said the program will be getting some TV coverage soon.

Apocalypse Later: Looming MTA Fare Hike Revised

The Daily News is reporting that a “doomsday scenario” for the MTA has been successfully avoided. Until today, the plan had been that the world would end on May 31st, when a fifty cent subway fare hike would go into effect and service cuts would slowly begin to take effect.

But, assuming that the solution proposed by Governor Patterson and other Democrats last night passes the State Legislature, that fare hike will be cut in half, and the scheduled service cuts will be put on long term hold or canceled. So it seems like with some fancy math and a couple of extra taxes on taxi drivers, everything’s gonna work itself out.

Well, it probably won’t work itself out. The MTA, like a gambling addict, will continue to run up debts no matter how many times you settle its credit. Plus, the fare hike may be half the expected amount, but $2.25 a pop will also mean twice as much awkward change in your subway riding life. You should also probably start mentally preparing for the frustration of having an amount like $1.75 left on your MetroCard. If you’re ready for it, it can only make you stronger.