by Michelle Slade
Geeks are a much-mocked species: their nocturnal, tech-obsessed, closed-drapes habits anchor storylines in many sitcoms, movies and books. But geeks need sunshine, too! Until quite recently, they’ve only been able to grab fleeting moments outdoors before returning inside to their beloved internet connection. But these days, they (er, we) can rejoice: many locations around the city provide free outdoor Wi-Fi. Simultaneous sunning and scripting can commence.
Parks and programming
While others wait in line at ‘wichcraft for the best part of a day, geeks can buy a burger from one of the other million joints around Madison Square Park, connect to the free Wi-Fi network and get coding/gaming/blogging while working on their tan. Free Wi-Fi is provided by non-profit organization NYCwireless; users need to register a free account before they get started in the park.
Free Wi-Fi is also available in Bryant Park, Tomkins Square Park, Union Square Park and Central Park.
Tourists and text editors
Times Square is most New Yorkers’ idea of hell - not just geeks. However, it has one small saving grace: free Wi-Fi. We’re not sure where you’ll find the space to actually whip out your computer (or even phone, for that matter) to start emailing or working, but the option’s there if you want it. All you have to do is connect to the free network called “Times Sq Free Wifi.” The network is available along the Broadway Plaza between 42nd and 44th Streets, and 46th and 47th Streets.
Vegetables and VPNs
Rock up at Union Square Greenmarket, get some work done in the sunshine and then grab your fresh produce before heading home for lunch - it’s the perfect start to the weekend. Just look for the “unionsquarewifi” network.
Fish and firmware
Admittedly, this particular Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t outdoors, but it’s so close to being outdoors that you’ll just have to quit the computer for at least five minutes to admire the views and inhale the sea air. South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 food court has free Wi-Fi, plenty of seating and views that have got to be better than your bedroom wall. The network name is “FREE_Downtown_Alliance.”
Michelle Slade is a writer and editor, working mainly for fun and wacky websites. She's also the author of Haggadah Good Feeling About This: Passover Guidance for Confused Jews. Her next book, If I'm Not Mistaken, That's Bacon: Kosher Guidance for Confused Jews, will be available on Amazon shortly.