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Good is New York City: Exploring a New City

For my second concept pitch I have chosen to pitch an idea which involves elements of all three of the ideas that I initially pitched and this concept is about an application which allows you to explore the city, I have solidified this idea through researching into ways in which people explore new cities and what sort of things people do to explore a new city. Here is what I found out

5 Ways to explore a new city
Obtain a free city map from the airport, bus station, or your hotel. If you can't get a free one, you may need to purchase one from a news stand.

When you step out the front door of your hotel, take stock of your surroundings. Look for interesting buildings and note the street or corner your hotel is located on. Mark this on your map with an X. The interesting building will alert you when you are getting back to your hotel.

3Look around you to see where the action seems to be.

4For your first sightseeing excursion, it would be well to choose a famous landmark that you can walk to. This will be your "center". From now on you should be able to navigate by this landmark, and the items on your map will become clear to you, because you will be able to see whether sights are closer to your hotel or that landmark. If the landmark is a tall one, that helps, because you can see it from several blocks away.

5From now on you will be able to venture out in an ever widening radius from your hotel, and you will (almost) never get lost. It depends on how adventurous you are.
5 Approaches to exploring a new city
1. The military general. The map is pulled out in the hotel and double checked. A series of points have been carefully marked out, and a line drawn to join the dots. You know exactly where you’ll go and what you want to see, and you will follow this route come hell or high water. You have even chosen a place where you will eat, and know the time at which you will reach this spot. Reservations booked of course.

2. The bar hopper. You have the names of the favourite hang-outs as listed in your guidebook, and you immediately head for these watering holes. You’ll step out for some fresh air and visit the nearby sights if you have time, but if the craic is good then what’s the point? It’s the people who make a place memorable and you’re surrounded by a great crowd already, so why leave?

3. The tourist in denial. You have read the many stories warning you not to look like a tourist. So you have your map, but you never look at it in public, only letting it see the light of day when safely locked in a toilet cubicle. You won’t ask for directions in case people pick up that you’re not from round these parts and cart you away to be slayed as a human sacrifice. So you go from memory, having studied the map in detail before you left, and rely on frequent trips to the bathroom to recheck your coordinates.

4. The fearless wanderer. Not for you the predictability of a map or a guidebook. You’re straight into the heart of the action, and the smells and sights will guide you on your way. You don’t care if you won’t see the must-see sights. Within an hour you’ll be deeply engrossed in a conversation with local people, sharing photos of your family and being invited to eat the insides of a goat that will be slaughtered in your honour at a mountain cabin.

5. The useless planner. You want to be organised, and you’ve spent ages reading the guide books and studying the maps. You set off with a strong idea of what you want to see and how you are going to get there. And then it all goes wrong. You get distracted by a food stall that serves something you can’t resist, and then you get lost and end up somewhere you shouldn’t be. When you get out your map you realise you’re miles from where you thought you were, and you end up looking at glum suburbs and getting back to your lodgings exhausted and having seen little of what you’d planned.

5 Tips on how to explore a new city
1) Become Familiar With The Map
It’s very important to me that I get a map of a place stuck in my mind, so that I can mentally locate myself, even if I am lost. I often conceptualise thought processes as being like a machine or computer algorithm. I know the human mind is vastly more complex than either, but the process of recalling a correct piece of information reminds me strongly of an electronic criminal database you see on detective dramas, rapidly skipping through options until it locates a match and freezes the screen. Once I have this map inked into my mind, I can add sensory colour through the experiences I gain. A bit like starting with a tube map and transforming it into a living ordinance survey map.

2) Walk Everywhere
The best way to do this is to walk, rather than using public transport or driving (how I wish I’d bothered learning to drive. I put on a bit of weight at the beginning of sixth form so turned into a fitness fanatic, insisting on walking home from school, town and friends’ houses, despite the fact that this was invariably a 2-3hr trek each time. Driving a car did not fit in with this, but I did get thin again so huzzah.) It may be tiring, and take time away from sightseeing, but it will make the experience more visceral and memorable.

3) Ask the Locals for Recommendations
The other absolutely essential bit of advice I can give you is ask the locals for suggestions. Tom is excellent at this, as he has a knack for striking up conversations with everyone we meet. The last time we went to Paris we stopped off at a shop selling wine, intending to have a midnight bottle glass of wine on our private balcony together. We asked the vintner for suggestions, and then if there were any good restaurants nearby that wouldn’t be full of tourists. The suggestions he gave us were all unique, and all fantastic. At each restaurant we tried we asked the waitresses to recommend nearby bars along the same lines, and again found each to be exactly what we’d hoped for. I often see tourists in London wandering, horrified, through Leicester Square or along Oxford Street, and want to grab them and send them in the right direction. Stumbling across somewhere to eat/ drink/ dance the night away on your own is exciting and eternally memorable, but capital cities are big places, and you risk finding the worst of them rather than the best.

4) Search for the Right Shots, Don’t Just Photograph Everything You See
Even if you’re not a photography enthusiast do take a camera, as you’ll want something to help you remember the trip and to show people, but don’t use it constantly. Use your eyes as well. I have a bit of a fetish for alleyways, so I’m always looking to either side for a shot. Dark and twisting, uneven paving stones or leaning walls, a secret courtyard or walled garden glimmering at the end… these transport my imagination. Look up, look behind you, peer where you’re not supposed to. Capture the buildings, the trees, the people. I never understand why people stand in front of statues, art work etc to have their photo taken with it. Surely you want to be a part of the environment, interacting with and connecting to it, rather than just shouting I-woz-here with a stupid grin on your face? What use is that?

5) Do Nothing
You don’t have to see all the sights, or go everywhere your mum/ best friend/ colleagues advised you to. The best way to explore a city is often to do nothing. Wander around, aimlessly, driven only by a desire to see what’s around the next corner or at the end of that strange, unmarked road. Sit outside cafes for hours, sketching, writing or just watching the world go by. It can be a little scary not really knowing where you are or what you’ll find, but as long as you have that map what does it matter? In a new city the ordinary becomes intriguing and beautiful, and that’s what you’ll remember.

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