A Mixture of Subways, Columbia Alumni, and iPhones

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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.

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  1. cool idea

    though the 96th scenario you shoehorn here doesn't relate to the app. that's more an issue of forgetfulness.

  2. Catch up

    Subway fare is $2.25 now.

  3. yoo hoo

    all white bricks

  4. 1.99  

    is the real rip off. how is this app so expensive?

  5. alma


    picture #11 is David Osborne cleaning alma mater...had no idea Columbia hired a special person to take care of her...

  6. uh...

    when were the intelligence-gathering subway trips? Cause last time I checked, the 115th st. exit is 24 hrs, ever since they installed those emergency exit doors with the alarms everybody ignores.

  7. nooo

    no more original cubmail!! i think i might be the only person who used it though so i guess nobody cares.

  8. awesome idea  

    creative and practical, good for them. And for commenter #5, I think that the whole 10 weeks spent riding the subway part is what that 1.99 is for plus unknown hours spent doing programing that neither of us knows how to do. As far as I'm concerned that's an excellent price. I'd definitely go for it if I had a fancy phone

  9. Sell Outs!.!.

    BWOG- sponsored by iphone app developers. Why not just put up some banners on the site. Instead you write a lame product placement article.

    Yes i'm High! but i look forward to new articles not new ads. SHIT.. hwhwoo... ok. I'm looking to be Wow'ed here.

  10. this info

    available online anywhere? don't have an iphone but would love to know this stuff--especially the place to be on the train

  11. Rite of Passage?  

    I never. made the mistake of not transferring at 96th. Does that mean I'm still not a real Columbia kid after two years?

  12. the real problem

    with this app is that it doesn't tell u where to wait on the platform. counting cars is difficult.

  13. seriously

    #20: stop being such a faggot. haven't you heard of affirmative action?

  14. 2150

    just downloaded this app and it's awesome! thanks for the tip bwog!!!!

  15. j weg

    wegener is the man, he coded the COOP website back in the day. way to go buddy

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