In a Sandy-wrecked metropolis, New Yorkers learned how vulnerable their phones are once the lights go out; without electricity, nomadic residents were left charge-less at a time when communication with the outside world was needed more than ever. Luckily, as a gift to the city (presumably out of shame for their dead spots), AT&T is launching a program that will harness sunlight to get your smartphone battery up to 100 percent in no time.
This week, the carrier will unveil solar-powered charge stations across the city at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island, Riverside Park, and Union Square. These locations come in addition to two already established at Fort Greene Park. And each one can charge six phones at a time.
By the end of the summer, AT&T hopes to open at least 25 stations in total. And, unlike Citi Bike, they’ll hit every borough: Chargers are planned for Staten Island Zoo, Rockaway Beach, and Randall Island Park. You can see where they’ll all be here.
And here’s AT&T’s statement on the matter:
AT&T Street Charge is a direct outgrowth of Superstorm Sandy when AT&T powered New York City’s distribution centers with commercial generators and pop-up cellular service. New Yorkers who had lost power for days or longer flocked to the centers seeking a charge and a way to communicate to the outside world. Recognizing the need for a sustainable charging solution, AT&T teamed up with solar industry leader Goal Zero and Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa to develop the initiative and bring it to local residents.
In addition to free WiFi in parks and underground cellphone service in select subway stations, AT&T’s been on a roll lately with providing us with free stuff. Remember when Anthony Weiner demanded companies offer givebacks in exchange for market access at the Queens tech forum the other night? Yeah, this is what it would look like.
Enjoy, New York.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 21, 2013