The navigation app Citymapper won the coveted Best Overall award at the Metropolitan Transit Authority App Quest competition in New York City Tuesday. The annual contest, which is sponsored by the MTA and AT&T, reviews several apps related to transportation and awards the Best Overall winner with $20,000. The App Quest is just another great thing about living in NYC, especially if you love mobile apps.
The contest is another initiative in New York City that embraces technology and mobile apps, in particular. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in 2010 that he intended on making NYC a “digital city,” and he has delivered. One of the first big moves Bloomberg made was creating NYC Digital in 2011. The tech-focused arm of the city government has been great, and the city engages the people of New York through social media and local meetups daily. The city has also added wifi access to a few subway stations and put in phone-charging stations in popular places such as Union Square and Hudson River Park.
The city has its own group on Meetup.com, @NYCDigital, where the city’s chief digital officer, Rachel Sterne Haot, talks to New Yorkers about what the city can do to make life easier. Of course, none of the positive technological strides the city has made would be possible without the legion of tech-savvy citizens, app developers and other tech entrepreneurs.
Aside from the city’s sponsored meetups, the five boroughs are constantly buzzing with demo nights, networking opportunities and educational meetups. There are hundreds of meetup groups, many of which are tech-related, that organize thousands of get-togethers throughout the year. The events foster a collaborative spirit, and many of the event listings encourage people to share ideas and keep their eyes open for possible co-founders and prospective team members who can help make their dream a reality.
The exploding tech industry in NYC has earned the nickname “Silicon Alley.” This used to refer to a strip of Manhattan where startups seemed to be centralized, but the term has expanded to every corner of the New York metropolitan area, and it’s more of an idea than a spot on a map.
New York City has always been an exciting place to live, but the recent outpouring of support for tech innovation, especially the growing market of mobile apps, has created hope for anyone who wants to start their own company. Bloomberg’s term ends in 2014, and while people can say some of his policies have been questionable, we appreciate his dedication to the tech industry, and we believe that legacy will live on for a long time.