Need an Island Getaway? This NYC BigApps Finalist Will Help



Manhattan. Staten Island. Long Island. New York is a series of islands and each has its own unique culture. While Manhattan may be a world unto itself, Governors Island is a whole different thing. Only 400 meters south of Manhattan – and a world away – Governors Island is a great place to go to get away from the city – without leaving town.

A finalist in the play category, Culture Island is where the exploration begins..

Founder Samuel Baumel is more than happy to tell us all where to go…

Tell us about the service.

Culture Island’s mission is to unite the islands of New York with island culture.

We’ve developed a platform that makes it easier for New Yorkers to get to Governors Island and helps them figure out what to do once they’ve arrived.

How is it different?

We offer location-based audio content and a real-time interactive map.

The audio content will include historical tours by the National Parks Service, contemporary audio guides authored by event organizers, as well as music, stories and poems created by artists-in-residence.

Our dynamic map will make it easier than ever for the administration at Governors Island to add and modify events.  Events are added to the map directly by clicking on the site where the event will take place. The event will automatically be visible on the map only at the time when it is occurring.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

Our market consists of visitors and prospective visitors to Governors Island.

400,000 people visited Governors Island last summer and it was only open during the weekends.  Figures have not been released yet for this summer, but the island has been open 7 days a week.

What’s the most popular attractions at Governors Island?

The festivals at Governors Island are incredibly popular:

FIGMENT is a participatory art festival where anything goes. It’s like a family-friendly Burning Man. The Jazz Age Festival is a surreal time warp where visitors dress up in flapper faire and swing dance under the open sky. Sometimes its easier to write about where you’ve been than where you are. The NYC Poetry Festival couldn’t quite work anywhere else. Governors Island is the perfect place for poems and reflection.

What is the business model?

Culture Island has developed a model that can be scaled and replicated for other sites around the globe.

In addition, we intend to deploy a network of beacons throughout Governors Island. The beacons will enable geo-targeted push notifications with more accuracy and sophistication than GPS.

Fees can be charged to event sponsors who wish to leverage the Governors Island beacon network in order to enhance engagement with visitors.

Tell us about your experience with NYC Big Apps thus far.

NYC BigApps is brilliant. A diverse group of selfless individuals from every borough cross-pollinate across to invent solutions that will make New York a better place to live, work, learn and play. It makes me proud to be a New Yorker.

In which category is your app and why is your app the best in that category?

Our app is in the Play category. Governors Island is the fastest way to get away. The island is a haven for escaping the hustle of the City.

Why is New York the place to launch your particular app?

New York is the perfect tech hub. If you get people to care about your app here, you can get people to care about your app anywhere. Open space is hard to come by in New York. Our app will help make open space more accessible to the people who need it most, the people of New York.

What would winning NYC Big Apps mean for your company?

Our goal is to make the rhythm of the island the soul of the City.

Success at NYC BigApps will enable us to illuminate the oases of island culture in urban environments as well as the culture islands outside our city centers.

If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?

Michael Bloomberg. No one else better embodies civic and business leadership in New York City.

Where’s the best place to eat at 1am in New York?

My refrigerator.


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