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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Field Trip (and Google Glass)

The map of Red Hook

Surfer but no surf

Field Trip app

Key lime pie

The Battle of Long Island

Have at thee!

Repel those Redcoats!

Death, by moonshine!

Red Hook foreshore

Hurricane Sandy

Sunny's Bar

Beard Street, Red Hook


Wine tasting

Brooklyn Crab

Google Glass

The finish line

Last week, the neighborhood exploration app Field Trip was added to the growing list of apps for Google Glass, and wouldn't you know it, it just happened to occur the week of the second Field Trip Day.

Field Trip is an app by Niantic Labs (Google) designed to help you explore your immediate surroundings and incorporates data from sources such as Atlas Obscura, Zagat, and WeHeart.

Despite the coincidence, the day was fairly low-tech with most people using the paper maps handed out by the volunteers. Furthermore, the only pair of Google Glass glasses we saw was the pair we brought ourselves, and even the Field Trip helpers were excited to see them.

Here, William Kilday, product marketing management director at Google's Niantic Labs, shows me how to use Google Glass after having some problems installing the Field Trip app on it. He also explained that the Field Trip Day -- also occurring in London, Seattle, and Los Angeles -- was a way to "bring the app to life".

Despite Kilday's expert tutelage, I wasn't able to get the Field Trip app to work on the glasses. It worked fine on the phone itself, though, so we used that instead.

Caption by / Photo by Dan Ackerman/CNET
Though organizers were promoting the Field Day app they still provided everyone with a paper map, and this is what we used mostly. In addition, the descriptions accompanying each destination within the app were printed out and posted at the physical locations.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
We weren't sure if this guy was part of the show, but he walked his surfboard past the Field Trip starting line and paddled out toward the Statue of Liberty, never to be seen again. Nearest surf: 11 miles.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Using either the Field Trip app or the paper maps that were supplied, we headed off to our first destination. Let's learn some history!
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET
About 50 yards from the starting line, we were guided to what one local newspaper calls the "best Key lime pie in New York." Fresh Key limes imported from Mexico and then squeezed are apparently the secret. Did this double as a teaser for the next version of Android? Time will tell.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The largest battle of the Revolutionary War occurred in Red Hook, and it's where Washington's forces were initially defeated. The site of the first "real life" Field Day post was a factory that had originally been a military outpost named Fort Defiance.

It was there in the back streets that George Washington himself showed us how we could save some face and kill us some Redcoat scum.

Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Mr. "Washington" then set up two lazy, doltish British soldiers and gave us a large loofah filled with water.
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Nicol Cseko performs her patriotic duty and does what George Washington failed to do all those years ago: hit a cardboard cutout of a British soldier with a wet sponge.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Death was a constant theme of the day's activities. Author of a forthcoming Atlas Obscura book, Ella Morton re-creates the fatal events of 1922 on a Red Hook street corner. At the height of Prohibition, Irmalinda Vatala sold illegal moonshine from her store here, which ended up killing 12 people.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Children play on the giant blocks spelling out the suburb's name.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Brooklyn's Red Hook incurred the wrath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and some businesses are still closed as a result. Here the attempt to stem the effects of the storm with sandbags has been re-created.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
One of the affected businesses was Sunny's Bar, but after months of hard work, the bar will reopen next week. Meanwhile, the accordion player on the bench outside performed "Summertime" for us.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
With tongues in their (hairy) cheeks, Australian band The Beards once sang: "If your dad doesn't have a beard, you've got two mums. Two beardless Mums."
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
One of the most recommended things on the day -- especially by one person at the winery -- was the chocolate. Cacao Prieto makes rums and chocolates in downtown Red Hook, and the samples they had were definitely chocolatey! On display was a Cacoa bean, which is about the size of your hand.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Half of the entries were related to either food or drink, and here the app guided us to The Red Hook Winery. They had tastings of three of their wines on display and we even got to see some of the factory.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
After a full afternoon it was time to head to Brooklyn Crab for a cleansing ale and to compare notes.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
At the Brooklyn Crab everyone wanted to know more about Google Glass. We obliged by taking video and pictures -- it came in handy after all!
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET
Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras reads out the answers to a Field Trip quiz at the last stop, Brooklyn Crab. Our team performed terribly.
Caption by / Photo by Ty Pendlebury/CNET