New York City Turns Payphones Turned Into Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

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For most travelers today, “Where can I find Wi-Fi?” or “Where can I find an internet connection?” are usually one of the first questions asked after they’ve arrived in a new city and got settled into their accommodation.

Most travelers have learnt to look for Wi-Fi in internet café’s and at coffee shops (as these are the places you’re most likely to find it), but in an attempt to allow its residents/visitors to stay more connected, the New York City government is making free Wi-Fi readily available by turning old payphones throughout the city into Wi-Fi hotspots.

As Rahul Merchant, the city’s chief information officer said, “We are taking an existing infrastructure and leveraging it up to provide more access to information,”


So far, only 10 payphones have been converted into Wi-Fi hotspots, but with over 12,000 payphones in New York City, the potential for expansion is huge.

Here is a list of of the current payphone kiosks that have been converted into Wi-Fi hotspots:


  • SoHo: 402 West Broadway
  • Fur-Flower District: 458 Seventh Avenue
  • Theater District-Clinton: 28 West 48th Street
  • Grand Central-United Nations: 410 Madison Avenue
  • Midtown-Clinton: 1609 Broadway and 1790 Broadway
  • Upper West Side: 230 West 95th Street


  • Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill: 545 Albee Square and 2 Smith Street


  • Astoria: 30-94 Steinway Street

Will this pilot program catch on? Who knows. There were still several thousand calls made last year from payphones in New York City (some of which were essential 911 calls), so it seems that payphones still play a valuable service to the city in some capacity.

Photo source: NYCGov’s Tumblr.

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