updated 06:05 pm EDT, Thu November 3, 2011
ATT park Wi-Fi hits Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, more
AT&T on Thursday took action on a pledge to activate Wi-Fi in New York City parks by switching it on in 11 areas. Some of the city's most famous parks, including Battery Park, Prospect Park, and Astoria Park, now give users public access. Other key parks in the boroughs are active, such as Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx, Thomas Jefferson Park in eastern Harlem, Herbert Von King Park and McCarren Park Field House in Brooklyn, Rumsey Playfield, Marcus Garvey Park and Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan, and Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island.
In keeping with its earlier public Wi-Fi rollouts, the access doesn't need an AT&T account to work, although some phones and other hardware it supplies will automatically recognize an AT&T hotspot and connect slightly faster.
The activation puts just over half of the 20 promised parks online, although it leaves out the largest in the area, Central Park.
AT&T was recruited for the role in part to fulfill Mayor Bloomberg's goals of a "digital city" that brings attention back to the East coast. It also has strictly practical motives for the carrier, however, by encouraging its users to leave the 3G and eventually 4G networks for the much larger headroom of Wi-Fi. It has been taking steps to reduce bottlenecks in New York City but still faces one of the highest concentrations of Android and iPhone owners in the country.