Blog Post

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.

7 Responses to “WiFi CityStates: New York, NY”

  1. Cell phone internet while usually slower than Wifi (although that’s changing) is an excellent choice anywhere.

    I personally enjoy internet everywhere for $4.99 with T-Mobile’s unlimited plan (use to be called T-Zones, and now it’s a Buck more and it’s been renamed T-MobileWeb, but it still unlimited)

    Hey it’s not the speed of Wifi. And nothing beats EVDO’s speed and availability around the country (Although I think Cingular has 1.8Mbps HSDPA Service in Manhattan) but like RanJeet Sodhi says at $5.99 which is less than what starbucks asks for a DAY I don’t mind waiting a little for the sites to load up.

    I found this site that shows you how to setup your laptop:
    T-Mobile Web on your laptop

    Note the MAXIMUM I’ve EVER got was 180kbps.
    That’s less than 1/10th of DSL and about 5 times SLOWER than EVDO but I guess since I’m paying 10 times less then I may be getting more than my money’s worth.

    If you can afford it, DEFINITELY try EVDO from verizon or sprint. Just trying to bring another choice to the conversation

  2. “Free” Wifi is still very spotty in NYC and surrounding towns like Hoboken or Newport in NJ.
    I have switched to using Verizons EVDO service since they offer a bit more reliable access to the internet versus trying to hunt for a free Wifi network around your favorite coffee shop (keep in mind: this is usually a lot slower than Wifi services).

    I still find it hard to believe that Starbucks and others charge over $10 for one hour of paid Wifi usage – that compared with the typical home internet charges of ~$40 or the EvDo charges of ~$60 (or $80, depending on the plans).

    Sign… I miss Richochet…