After the Storm

Where to Get Free Wifi While Your Internet’s Out

Saved by... Microsoft?
 Where to Get Free Wifi While Your Internets Out

The hottest game in town. (Photo: Rembert Browne, Instagram)

We’re stretching into yet another day of no power downtown. If you’re seeking Wifi, you could simply head north until you find somewhere, but it’s probably best to proceed with a plan. Hence, we’ve rounded up a list of places you might want to try:

Networks: 

  • In a convenient coincidence, Microsoft’s sponsorship of free wireless at more than 200 Boingo hotspots across the city starts today. Look for “Free Wifi by Microsoft” to get online. Updated: Boingo tells us the best way to find one of these locations is this: “If you unselect “Trusted” and “Unverified” under “Hotspot Quality,” this will isolate the “Certified” hotspots,” many of which are sponsored.
  • Boingo’s Wi-Finder app also aggregates locations with free wireless. But take any suggested spots with a grain of salt, as they don’t tell you whether those hotspots are actually currently functional. (It’s a good bet none of the ones downtown are.)
  • For those of you in New Jersey, Comcast has temporarily opened its Xfinity Wifi hotspots up to the public. Here’s a map of available locations.

Coworking

  • For startups seeking desk space, there’s #SandyCoworking. Here’s a list of companies and organizations offering to take in the disrupted, and there’s also a crowdsourced map of options, including midtown’s AlleyNYC, the offices of ff Venture Capital and Brooklyn’s Cafe Royal.
  • The Ace Hotel, the impromptu startup hub, currently has power and therefore its usual free Wifi. (Unfortunately, looks like Soho House is electricity-less.)

Chains / Restaurants 

  • Starbucks outposts that still have electricity have free Wifi.
  • McDonalds is another option. Check for a location here.
  • Guest of a Guest points out many uptown hotels have available Wifi, including the tony Waldorf Astoria. It also looks like the Soho Grand has free Wifi.
  • Barnes & Noble locations offer free Wifi. Midtown options to try include Lexington and 54th, and 5th Avenue and 46th.

Libraries

  • New York Public Library branches offer free Wifi. However, the flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd is still closed.
  • We hear NYU’s Bobst Library has been offering access to its lobby for Wifi and charging, but that might be a limited time offer as the library gets converted to housing for evacuated students.

Outdoors/de facto

  • Try one of the payphones that’s been converted into a hotspot. Convenient Manhattan locations include 458 Seventh Avenue, 28 West 48th Street, 410 Madison Avenue, and 1609 Broadway.
  • Here are tethering instructions.
  • Moxy has set up one of its charging station (with free built-in Wifi) in a Chase ATM on 41st Street and 3rd Avenue. Not ideal, but a good place to check your email.
  • Some of the hotspots in public plazas and parks are likely working. That said, do not go into city parks in search of working wireless, as there’s a lot of tree inspecting left to do.

Of course, if all that fails, there are always bars, which never, ever let New Yorkers down.

Have you discovered an accommodating coffee shop? Found a free hotspot? Hit us up at tips@betabeat.com. 

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com