Five months ago, I had the very cool privilege of being the one to announce the birth of NY Art Beat to the world. It was an exciting time to kick off a new website for art and design in the city, and we were hoping to see it grow fast. And there, we were wrong: NYAB is not just growing, it’s becoming enormous at a very fast rate. As of today, the site features more than 700 current or upcoming events, with close to 3,000 archived since May 2008. The editorial team has not been idle either, with more than 60 reviews and photo essays published.
We think it’s time to teach this big baby some new tricks. From its older sibling in Tokyo it had already inherited quite a few smart genes: smart lists to find what’s new, what’s hot and what’s free: the free MyNYAB to receive mail alerts, submit your own reviews and participate in building the ultimate list of the most popular creative stuff happening in NYC; a simple mobile site for an art fix on the go; and quite a lot more. New York is not Tokyo, and we did not want to make NYAB a bland copycat of its Japanese counterpart: The opening party season gave us the perfect opportunity to create a NY-inspired feature.
But wait, there’s more…. The truth is, as much as we’re trying to make NYAB a great, fun and easy to use website, we can’t always imagine all the ways that one could use or display all the information about every gallery, museum, exhibition and performance that this city has to offer. But that’s okay: We just hired an army of mashup hackers to help us set that information free.
And so, we give you the NY Art Beat API, which, as any geek will know, stands for application programming interface. For the less-geeky, API means that, just like we did in Tokyo, we are opening NYAB’s event data, in a well documented format, for anyone with decent programming skills to use and build upon, share, broadcast, mix and match with other great sources of information, and make the city more exciting in the process. The API includes not only the signature Art Beat event smart lists in a format suitable for hacking, mashups and new applications, but also a brand new geolocated search application: Give it a location anywhere in the city, a couple of parameters and voilà! Sweet and shiny event data you can feed to your mashups and web apps.
So mash early and mash often. Check out the API documentation, join the discussion group for tips, announcements and feedback. Then start hacking…. Show us what you can build with NYAB’s (and TAB’s) data.