Lonely Planet Writer

New York rolls out free Wifi hotspots in 27 locations across the city's parks

Staying connected on the go has never been more important and New York City officials are adhering to that need by rolling out free Wifi hotspots to 27 locations around the Big Apple.

New York is launching the largest and fastest free wifi network in the world
New York is launching the largest and fastest free wifi network in the world Image by LinkNYC on Facebook

In partnership with mobile giants AT&T, the New York City Parks Department this week announced they will be extending their massively successfully free Wifi hotspots initiative to take in 27 locations across 21 parks in the city’s five boroughs- Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island. The expansion of the scheme will also see the number of free solar powered mobile device chargers increase to 34 installations at 15 of the city’s parks and beaches. The free public Wifi initiative was first introduced in 2011 and it was reported this week that more than 8.6m users have connected to this service since then.

New York City skyline from Central Park.
New York City skyline from Central Park. Image by cityscape_nyc

After Hurricane Sandy caused widespread devastation resulting in power outages in the city in 2012, AT&T introduced free solar powered charging units at several locations the following year. Some of the most popular tourist destinations which are included in the free Wifi initiative in Manhattan include areas of Central Park and the High Line. Other popular spots include both Brooklyn Bridge and Astoria parks and users can connect no matter who their service provider is.

High Line Park, NYC.
High Line Park, NYC. Image by David Berkowitz / CC BY 2.0

New York Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver believes these technological advances and the ramped up programme will help his department to improve their work and amenities, according to NBC New York. He said:  “through amenities like Wi-Fi and charging stations in parks, we help increase technological access, while gathering insights into how our visitors engage our green spaces; insights that strengthen our strategic approach to building a better park system for the future.” According to the Metro US, Marissa Shorenstein from AT&T said:  “over the past five years, millions of visitors to New York’s parks and beaches have connected over Wi-Fi in the Parks and charged their devices at AT&T Street Charge units. It’s been exciting to watch these programs become proof points for how a city can leverage advances in technology to keep its citizens connected.”