By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
LOWER EAST SIDE — The Lower East Side? There's an app for that.
The tech-savvy Lower East Side Business Improvement District will unveil a new iPhone app in the coming months that will help guide visitors to the neighborhood's historic landmarks and growing retail destinations.
The BID will integrate aspects of its newly launched website, including an easy-to-use interactive map featuring dozens of notable addresses throughout the area, to make it easier on visitors navigating the neighborhood's sometimes-confusing streets, said LES BID director of marketing Tim Lemberger.
The BID signed a contract last week with a design firm to create the app, which will be rolled out for the iPhone in the next two to three months and the Android operating system after that.
"When you look at the Lower East Side, it's one of the only neighborhoods in the U.S. where you can go and not find a lot of chain stores or big-box stores," Lemberger said. "We have a lot of stores that have been in the area for decades, if not centuries. You just don't find that anymore."
He explained that the Lower East Side Tenement Museum counts upwards of 175,000 visitors each year — likely to grow when the museum opens its new visitors' center this summer — but that most retire to their Midtown hotels stopping in instead of exploring the neighborhood.
The app will be updated in real time and provide information regarding daily deals at the area's shops and restaurants, as well as local events.
"This used to be known as the Bargain District, and it's moving away from that now," Lemberger said of the increasing number of new boutiques and nightlife establishments on the Lower East Side. "Our marketing efforts aren't necessarily focused on bargains and discounting. We're focusing more now on quality and uniqueness."
The app will use Google Maps to guide users to places ranging from the New Museum and Eldridge Street Synagogue to American Apparel and music venue Piano's.
"We found it can be a little confusing," Lemberger added of visitors trying to make their way through the Lower East Side's tenement-rich streets. "We want to make sure we make it as easy as possible to get around here."