Where to find free internet and WiFi access in various locations across New York City
Are you looking for a free Wi-Fi hot spot to access the Internet in New York City? Obviously many New York residents and businesses leave their WiFi hotspots unsecured thus giving you free WiFi but the problem is that these WiFi hotspots are not consistently available. More consistent wireless connections can be found in other locations, such as coffee shops, cafes, delis, bars, and restaurants. Some of them have a price associated with them, while most are free. Besides the public places like parks and libraries where wireless is free, it’s always courteous to purchase a coffee or small item from a cafe before settling in to utilize their free wireless service. Very few locations require an actual payment, though Starbucks requires the purchase of a Starbucks Reward Card for a minimum of $5. Read below to find out where you can access the Internet in New York City.
Hard Wired Internet Access
Some people need a hard wired internet solution via Ethernet, so they can get faster and more reliable internet access by cutting out the wireless card. There are fewer options available, but internet cafes and some libraries have some internet solutions that will meet your needs.
Internet Cafes – When You Don’t Have Your Own Computer Or Your Phone
If you don’t have your own computer with you, you can rent time on a PC or Mac at various internet cafes around New York City. We don’t list them here, because they are always changing.
Reliable WiFi Locations and Hotspots Around The City
Apple Store Fifth Avenue
(767 5th Avenue, 212-336-1440)
The architectural marvel that is the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue has reliable wifi Internet access throughout the store and the outdoor plaza area, which has tables, chairs, and steps. Enjoy the fresh air and view of Central Park and the Plaza Hotel from here. Need to access the Internet and left home without your computer? Take advantage of the free wireless access and test out Apple computers in-store. Other Apple Store New York City locations in SoHo (103 Prince Street) and in Chelsea (401 West 14th Street) have free WiFi access as well.
Bryant Park Wireless Network
(42nd and 6th Avenue, 212-768-4242) Since 2002, Midtown’s Bryant Park has been a WiFi Hot Spot provider for laptop and handheld device users. There are plenty of tables, chairs, and open grass to stretch out on to do business or simply browse in the peaceful park area behind the New York Public Library. Bryant Park stretches between 5th and 6th avenues, from 42nd to 40th Street.
South Street Seaport
(Fulton and South Streets, Pier 17, 212-732-7678)
Maintained by Downtown Alliance’s Lower Manhattan Wireless Network, free wifi wireless is available in the seating area of the food court at South Street Seaport, located on the third floor of the Festival Marketplace at Pier 17.
New York Public Library System
(Various Locations – 212-930-0800)
The New York Public Library has branches in Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island, consisting of 89 total libraries. Bring a laptop with built in Wi-Fi capability and use the New York Public Library’s free high speed Internet connection – various hotspots are located throughout every lIbrary. Ethernet connectivity is also available in some of the library locations. Access the wi-fi by simply launching your Web browser, but beware, the wireless network is not secure. Users will also have access to the entire range of full-text databases and resources found on the library computers.
Starwich Salads & Sandwiches
525 West 42nd Street 212-736-9170;
425 West 13th Street, 212-462-2310
72 West 38th Street, 212-302-7775
This upscale gourmet lunch eatery located in Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and Midtown has complimentary newspapers, couches, free WiFi, outlets for computers, and an array of cell phone chargers available.
(Various Locations – 1-800-235-2883)
Starbucks and AT&T have joined to provide free Wi-Fi Internet service at their coffee shops across the country. Customers must purchase a Starbucks Reward Card with a minimum of $5 credit on it to use the Internet, and use the Starbucks Card at least once a month to keep it active. The customer is allowed two hours of free WiFi service per day that can only be used in a single session. In Manhattan alone, there are nearly 180 Starbucks coffee shops.
(1685 First Avenue, 212-289-2023)
This Japanese bakery on the Upper East Side known for its signature cream puff custard-filled pastries has free WiFi available to customers and eight power outlets. Choux Factory is a friendly neighborhood spot with plenty of seating.
Cosi Sandwich Bar
(Various Locations -847-444-3200)
Since 2006, all Cosi locations have offered free WiFi access through Surf and Sip, a worldwide high-speed wireless provider. There are about 10 Cosi locations throughout Manhattan.
City Hall Park
(Broadway and Chambers Street, 212-285-0301)
This small, tranquil park just south of City Hall is another public New York City park with an available WiFi connection. City Hall Park is a breath of fresh air surrounded by the densely packed buildings in the Financial District downtown. The park is almost nine acres in size, and there is plenty of seating among the trees, gardens, and large fountain at its center.
Barnes & Noble
(Various Locations -1-800-422-7717)
With a little over 20 stores in Manhattan alone, national bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has offered Wi-Fi service in the cafe area in all stores throughout the country since 2006, provided by the AT&T FreedomLink network. However, Wi-Fi use at Barnes & Noble comes with a cost. Free WiFi access generally occurs for promotional campaigns with use of a coupon.
Grand Central Terminal
(87 East 42nd Street, 212-340-2583)
MTA Metro-North Railroad customers can use the free Wi-Fi available in the vicinity of the Station Master’s Office in Grand Central Terminal. The wireless service can only accommodate 60 users online at a time. The Station Master’s Office is the waiting area for ticket-holding passengers and is located near Track 36.
Bowling Green Park
(Broadway and Whitehall Street)
Twenty-four hours a day, free WiFi hotspots provided by the Downtown Alliance are available in the wedge-shaped plaza in front of the U.S. Custom House and in the small public park area of Bowling Green. There are gardens, plenty of benches, and a fountain with pool. It’s located at the very end of Broadway.
ING Direct Internet Cafe
(45 East 49th Street, 866-692-2233)
The generous folks at the ING Direct Internet Cafe will give you free access to their six internet computers and free WiFi access from your own PC or Mac in this small, but versatile internet cafe, though they do ask that you purchase something first.
CyberCafe Times Square
(250 West 49th Street, 212-333-4109)
CyberCafe Times Square offers visitors state-of-the-art technology, high-speed Internet, and a cafe with breakfast and lunch items on the menu. You can print, scan, and fax documents here, burn CDs and DVDs, and there is also a graphics station with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator available. The basic rate to use a computer is $6.40 per half hour and $3.20 every 15 minutes after that.
Web2Zone Internet Cafe
(54 Cooper Square, 212-614-7300)
Web2Z one offers interactive video gaming and Internet surfing for $3.75 during the first 30 minutes and $1.25 each additional 10 minutes. Web2Zone also acts as a small business center where visitors can use software like Quark Xpress, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Image Ready, as well as Macromedia Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, and Freehand. There are private cubicles, access for your own laptop, FusionWraps gourmet food, a conference room, and tech shop.
NewsBar Internet Cafe
(107 University Place, 212-353-1246)
This Internet cafe in Greenwich Village is also a cozy coffee shop with bagels and baked goods, a wide selection of teas, soups, sandwiches, and newspapers and magazines for sale. There are 12 computer stations with Internet access set up in the back as well as wireless Internet access if you choose to bring your own computer.
(Various locations around New York City, 212-929-0623)
Kinkos offers computer workstations for those people who do not have their own computer with them, hard wired ethernet connections for those with demanding bandwidth requirements, and T-Mobile WiFi internet access at most locations in New York City.