McCarren just became the first of the five Brooklyn park set to receive free wifi, thanks to tech ninjas who installed the routers quietly over the weekend. While Brooklynites all sat around, none the wiser, stealing wireless from the downstairs neighbor as usual, I donned my sturdiest flannel, braved the cold wind and set out to test drive the new signal before others discovered it and starting hogging my bandwidth. Sure, they installed it just in time for the part of the year when the parks won’t exactly be crowded all day, and the service is
only free for a bit before you have to pay [Updated below]. But does it work well enough to make it worth lugging your laptop and travel coffee mug down to the park?
Loading Pages: Far superior to my home wireless or any I’ve used in Brooklyn cafes or restaurants, the wireless can be found under “attwifi” and showed five bars of connectivity, which it delivered. It worked quickly to load pages and refresh feeds on my mobile device (iPhone) and computer (Macbook… why does Apple own my life?). Brokelyn, Facebook, and Google load and reload rapidly.
Twitter: It’s fantastically fast. Just don’t show your excitement through excessive caps Tweets, because we will un-follow you. The shame!
Netflix: Streaming a movie or TV episodes on Netflix is lightning quick on this network. One second I was perusing the less-than-appealing options, the next I was happily watching Meet Joe Black. I didn’t even see the loading circle I’ve become so well-acquainted with in past months!
Be warned: If it’s even remotely sunny, there will be glare on your laptop. Glare guard it up or just squint; for free wifi, it’s worth it. If it wasn’t soon to be unacceptably cold outside, I’d relocate my work station to a McCarren bench (freelance outdoor chic, I’ll call it). I’m hopeful that wind, rain and snow storms won’t knock out the service as we venture further into the deep freeze of winter.
UPDATE 10/12: A spokesperson for AT&T says the service will in fact be free for the length of your time in one of the parks: “The wifi is free for however long they want,” spokesperson Flavia Draganus said. “At the parks AT&T have chosen (including these) users (with any provider) have free wi-fi throughout their time at the park.”
Follow Meredith: @MereOfTheOlsons.