WiFi CityStates: New York, NY

Bryant Park
I left New York at the height of the hype spun by the Silicon Alley Reporter, and a handful managed to cash in on the last web boom. In the years after moving there from Seattle, getting a decent cup of coffee had also become significantly easier, largely thanks to Starbucks. By the time I left, WiFi was still primarily a novelty and the fastest broadband offered by Nynex was dual-ISDN.

In the meantime, my old haunts in the East Village and Lower East Side are now-uber trendy locales, my neighborhood in Brooklyn was renamed “Park Heights,” and New York was a hotbed of upstart bloggers, fueled by underemployed young wits looking to make and end-around run on the publishing industry. A quick email to a friend brought back a list of recommended office space alternatives running the length of Manhattan.

Downtown, Alt.Coffee on the border between the East Village and Alphabet City sounds like the kind of unpretentious, independent hang out I’d probably frequent. Further west, with multiple locations withing walking distance of NYU (where the Interactive Telecomunications Program is garnering well deserved plaudits from techies), is Joe. They have the honor of keeping the staff of The Late Show with David Letterman caffeinated, and were awarded a listing in TimeOut’s 2006 Eat Out Awards.

There are also plenty of listings for spots in Midtown, within walking distance of Grand Central Station. But the most intriguing locations are actually public spaces. Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library, is covered in wifi. Even classier, the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room combines old-world architectural charm with the peace and quiet you need to concentrate. More listings can be found at the NextNY resource page, which has plenty of other helpful listings for going bedouin.

Photo from Bryant Park highlighting New York City’s cupcake obsession by Amit Gupta.