Courtney Byrne-Mitchell is the Director of Visitor Services at the Museum at Eldridge Street in New York City. The Museum at Eldridge Street is a nonprofit, non-sectarian museum dedicated to maintaining the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Byrne-Mitchell oversees the daily workings of this National Historic Landmark built in 1887.
What apps do you use every day and why do you like them?
Everyday I use the standard Pandora, Instagram, Google Maps. The new one I’ve been using daily is the Jeopardy app. It’s $1.50 or $1.99 and allows you to play Jeopardy. The only difference is you can’t type out the answer; it gives you three options to choose. It’s fun because you can play single player and doesn’t actually require Internet connection. It’s my new distraction on the train if I don’t feel like reading or if it is too crowded to be holding a book, but not too crowded to be using one hand to be holding a phone.
Is there an app you think developers should be working on?
I would love a book database based on historical fiction books. Say you typed in a book, for example the children’s book “All the Kind Family.” The app would connect to Google Maps and show you on the map where that book took place. It could integrate with pictures from the book and historical photos, so you could see what it looked like then and what it looks like now. It’d be cool if you could type in the book and the app told you different places where there is relevant content information or different historical sites you could see that relate to that book.
Is there an app, which surprised you with its usefulness?
Yes, two of them. The Cat Effects app, which allows you to add images of digital cats to any photos in your phone. It’s totally a joke, but it’s really fun. The other one is an app that I haven’t bought myself because it’s $3.50, but it is called Exit Strategy. It looks at the NYC subway systems and the multiple exits at each station You choose the line and whether you are going uptown or downtown, and it shows you where on the train the exit is. For example, if you are taking the train to 42nd Street, but you want to get off at the northern most corner, it shows where all the exits go and where on the train you should stand. You are saving an extra 30 seconds of being in the right place at the platform—especially useful for native New Yorkers.