AN ENDURING SYMBOL FOR THIS GREAT CITY
Quick, picture the Tulsa skyline. Now the Baltimore skyline, or even the Miami skyline. Tough, right? There’s a reason nowhere else in the world can conjure up the same unmistakable visual as the spikey squiggle that is the New York City skyline. And right at the heart of it, the true meat of what New York is to millions around the globe, is Midtown. As more and more of the 60 million visitors to New York spend time exploring the city’s other diverse neighborhoods, it’s crucial for the Empire State Building and other top area attractions that Midtown – the core of the metaphorical Big Apple – retains its place of primacy.
To that end, the Empire State Building formed – along with its friends and neighbors at the New York Public Library, Macy’s Herald Square, Grand Central Terminal, Circle Line Cruises, Eataly, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and two dozen other major tourist attractions – the Destination Midtown Alliance. The group’s first mission: create an app that helps visitors have their best day in NYC be their day in Midtown.
Destination Midtown is centered around the idea that Midtown is the most “bang for your buck” part of your NYC vacation – nowhere else can you find world-famous landmarks around every corner. Despite the towering facades, this is an eminently walkable neighborhood, and in fact that is the best way to see it all.
To that end, we designed the app to feature ten step-by-step walking tours centered around both geography and interests. Through a variety of custom modules, we distilled the essence of a tour guide into a pocket companion.
This app is not Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Lonely Planet. It’s a bespoke love letter created by New Yorkers to share what makes our city great. To emphasize the custom, premium nature of Destination Midtown’s content, our team worked to develop unique visual identities for each of the walking tours within the app. Inspired by vintage travel posters, these illustrations form the backbone of this app, guiding the user through each adventure.
Beyond the tours, we knew we needed to capture that “back of guidebook” information that often makes those paper tomes so valuable. Sections on getting around town, what to eat, and where to go out for a drink help us round out the user’s journey. Furthermore, working with all the Empire State Building’s many partners, we were able to develop exclusive “Insider Tips” for each of the featured destinations.
It’s no easy feat coordinating with more than two dozen stakeholders, but the Destination Midtown app is a testament to how a whole community can grow together. A rising tide truly lifts all boats, and the stunning teamwork of these alliance members makes this app a unique insider’s guide to one of the world’s most remarkable neighborhoods.
The result of exhaustive first and third party research, including site visits across the city, pouring over stacks of physical guidebooks from around the globe, and interviewing experts and travelers alike, this app is finely tuned to make every tourist’s trip just a little bit more magical. Destination Midtown is a cornerstone piece of a new Midtown marketing initiative, and we look forward to seeing what comes next.
Moral of the story: I highly recommend this app for tourists and New Yorkers alike. It’s free, it doesn’t need to send you notifications all day, and it’s informative when you feel like using it. You never know…you may stumble across something on a tour that makes you the Trivia Queen at your bar table!
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