A New App Wants to Show You New York Like You’ve Never Seen It

Detour’s celebrity-led jaunts will make tourists of us all

November 21, 2016 9:00 am

New Yorkers love tourists.

Especially telling them to get out of the freakin’ way.

But get ready to be the person on the other side of that equation.

Because a new app, Detour, wants to take you on little jaunts through the city with the likes of Ken Burns, DJ Jazzy Jay and a host of other born-and-bred NYC historians.

Here’s how it works.

For just five bucks, Detour uses a phone’s GPS tracker to guide users on audio tours of neighborhoods, providing background information and directions as listeners arrive at different landmarks, or “narration triggers.” Available for iOS and Android, each tour takes around an hour to complete, but the actual time depends on the listener’s walking speed. And since it calibrates to your pace, there’s no need to pull out your phone and pause. The experience is seamless and engaging — a real augmented-reality experience.

Our favorite among the New York offerings? Burns’s annotation of the Brooklyn Bridge, perhaps the city’s greatest modern marvel. He makes a helluva fine tour guide — the man’s first film was about the Bridge, after all. He’s walked it hundreds of times.

Beginning on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, Burns tells all the bridge’s best-kept secrets, from the man who died trying to build his dream project to the woman who kept the construction alive. And he’ll try to help you not get mowed over by a cyclist in the process.

Should you be so inclined, we also recommend the SoHo tour with Yukie Ohta, wherein she’ll show you an astonishing sculpture hiding in plain site and take you to the sites of some of N.Y.’s oldest brothels.

Just be sure to pace yourself.


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