Charge Your Phone Free with Public Charging Stations

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A pilot program will provide New York City with about two dozen free solar-powered charging stations this summer. If successful, it could expand to other cities.

AT&T is rolling out public phone charging stations across New York City, and might expand the program elsewhere if it goes well.

The stations can charge most handheld devices and are available around the clock, PCMag.com says. They run on solar power in the day and lithium batteries at night.

It’s a free service, and the stations are located in parks and other areas where people might want to hang out for a while. The idea will also create a gathering spot for street vendors, PCMag.com says, as well as gadget and phone thieves.

The project is called Street Charge, and it’s a partnership with a solar company called Goal Zero and a design studio, Pensa. They came up with the idea after Superstorm Sandy, which left people without power for days, AT&T says. Here’s a partial list of locations it says are available now or later this summer:

Manhattan

  • Riverside Park, Pier I (launched 6/18)
  • Union Square Park, North Plaza  (launched 6/19)
  • Rumsey Playfield, Central Park Summerstage
  • Hudson River Park Pier 59
  • Randall’s Island

Brooklyn

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier I (launched 6/18)
  • Fort Greene Park (launched 6/18)
  • Coney Island
  • Metrotech Plaza
  • The Dumbo Arts Festival
  • The Brooklyn Book Festival

Queens

  • Rockaway Beach
  • Clearview Golf Course
  • Socrates Sculpture Park

Bronx

  • Orchard Beach

Staten Island

  • Governor’s Island (launched 6/18)
  • La Tourette Golf Course
  • Staten Island Zoo

AT&T describes the service as a pilot, suggesting it may have plans to expand to other cities.

Neither AT&T or PCMag mentioned how long charging could take. Assuming the typical time it takes at home, that puts a potential fly in the ointment. After all, being in a park is nice, but having to keep an eagle-eye on your tethered phone makes the experience a lot less relaxing.

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