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Free Internet in Prospect Park — but some users call it ‘Why Fi’ • Brooklyn Paper

Free Internet in Prospect Park — but some users call it ‘Why Fi’

Some Prospect Park-goers are are taking advantage of the free WiFi that became available there this week, but other others don’t like to mix nature with spam.
Photo by Bess Adler

Finally, you can download e-mails from that Nigerian prince amid the splendor of Prospect Park.

The city quietly flipped on the free wireless Internet service in Brooklyn’s green heart last week, allowing park-goers to surf the web, check their stocks or play Words with Friends with Alec Baldwin — anything to remain offline, even in the city’s premier greenspace.

The hookup works within 350 feet of the Picnic House — just south of the Third Street entrance in Park Slope — and extends into the Long Meadow and nearby barbeque areas.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Prospect Park spokesman Paul Nelson. “You can have a nice little picnic — with Internet access.”

The service is part of a five-year city initiative, in conjunction with AT&T, to bring free Internet to parks, including Fort Greene Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park — where the WiFi also launched quietly last month. McCarren Park was the first in the borough to score the service two months ago.

Sure, it’s nice to have more bars in more places, but some folks said they’d rather not mix technology with turf.

“You can’t be connected all the time,” said Chris Hemmeter, who was lying in the grass at the time.

Fellow park-goer Kris Wiig added, “People should come to the park and unplug. That’s what a park is for, to unwind.”

But some Internet users were pleased to have an alternative to having to buy coffee just to get online.

“I’d rather come to the park than Starbucks for WiFi,” said Ayjy Bhardwaj of Bushwick. “The problem with Starbucks and cafes is that you have to buy something. But here, you can sit anywhere. There’s no pressure.”

A spokeswoman for AT&T said the company hooked up the service during cold weather months to work out potential glitches by the spring, when the park gets more use.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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