The deal announced last week to bring “limited” Wi-Fi signals to Southern Brooklyn parks is little more than a slap in the face to the neighborhood compared to the sweetheart deal Manhattanites get, says City Council candidate Mark Treyger.
While visitors to places like Central Park, the Financial District and trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg have been getting free Wi-Fi for some time now, the new deal brings a handful of temporary signals to Southern Brooklyn parks and beaches, including Gravesend Park. But the signal is no different than the typical, inconsistent Optimum Wi-Fi that Cablevision subscribers already get for free in most of Brooklyn. Oh, and non-Cablevision customers get a whopping free 10-minute session three times in a 30-day period – and then need to start doling out credit card numbers.
Treyger isn’t having any of that.
“This limited program demonstrates limited thinking, and will do almost nothing to bridge the digital and technological divide that exists in our city,” Treyger told Bensonhurst Bean. “Why should people who frequent Central Park get unlimited free Wi-Fi access, while Coney Island is limited to three 10-minute intervals every month? This is yet another sad example of how families in the outer boroughs are being neglected by an administration that cares only about the wealthy in Manhattan. New York City is much more than Manhattan, and trendy neighborhoods close to Manhattan. We pay taxes here in south Brooklyn too, and we deserve better from City Hall. We shouldn’t tolerate being treated like second class citizens, and – this election season and beyond – must speak up often and forcefully.”
Treyger is calling upon the Parks Department to install Wi-Fi internet access in parks and public spaces across Southern Brooklyn, a demand he’s been making even months before the limited Wi-Fi deal was unveiled. According to a press release, Treyger, a public school teacher and aide to Assemblyman William Colton, is hoping to spread the service as a means to provide internet access to those who can’t afford it, promote education and supply economic opportunities to those who couldn’t otherwise access them.
Treyger is adamant in his crusade to bring free public Wi-Fi to Southern Brooklyn.
“Once a luxury, wireless internet access has quickly become a necessity for New York City residents. It is shameful and unacceptable that it has taken this long to bring public Wi-Fi to southern Brooklyn,” Treyger said in the release. “Why don’t we have access at Kaiser Park? How about Bensonhurst Park? Asser Levy Park? The Coney Island Boardwalk? West Playground? Seth Low Park? Marlboro playground? Gravesend Park on 18th Avenue? Dreier Offerman Park? Why have our neighborhoods been left out?”
The Council candidate also expressed the unfairness of city plans to expand Wi-Fi services in Manhattan while limiting access in Brooklyn.
“Of the 24 Parks Department sites with Wi-Fi access, 10 are in Manhattan, and there are plans in place to bring another two to that borough. Despite being the City’s most populous borough, there are only six free Wi-Fi sites in Brooklyn parks, and none of them are south of Prospect Park,” Treyger said, speaking of the permanent, fully free Wi-Fi locations only.
Treyger also stressed the importance of providing free Wi-Fi to people who couldn’t otherwise afford access, giving an impassioned plea to the Design Commission to expand their plans to Southern Brooklyn.
“There are safety, educational, commercial, and recreational benefits to offering free Wi-Fi service to city residents that we in southern Brooklyn are being deprived of. As a teacher, I see students at a disadvantage simply because they don’t have a computer or internet access in their home. How will they compete for jobs, internships, or other educational opportunities? The exclusion of southern Brooklyn residents from this service is nothing short of shameful,” Treyger said.