You think you know Boston? Did you know that a memorial to Kahlil Gibran, author of every college coed’s guide to life, “The Prophet,” is on Dartmouth Street? That the first pastor of Trinity Church, Phillips Brooks, wrote the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem?” That Northeastern University started as an offshoot of the YMCA? That the Federal Reserve building in Dewey Square was built with those giant brushed aluminum louvers because sunlight streaming through the building’s east-west orientation would otherwise have blinded people working inside?
All of these tantalizing details about the city where we live and work, and hundreds more, can be found on a new smartphone app called CultureNOW. Boston is the second city — after New York, where the nonprofit creators are based — to be mapped with walking tours, photos, and podcasts of some 400 buildings, parks and works of public art. From the sublime (the Hancock tower) to the insouciant (the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture), the sites and their explanations slowly accumulate into what CultureNOW calls a “museum without walls.” And the $1.99 price of the app compares nicely to admission in most of the city’s physical museums.