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.