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New Yorkers welcome city's solar-powered cellphone charge stations

People charge their phones at a free solar-powered

People charge their phones at a free solar-powered charging station at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Getty) (Credit: People charge their phones at a free solar-powered charging station at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Getty))

Getting stranded in the city with a dead smartphone will soon be a thing of the past.

The first three of 25 solar-powered Street Charge stations went online Tuesday, and smartphone-dependent New Yorkers say the 12-and-a-half foot poles are a godsend for when they're stuck with a dead battery and nowhere to recharge.

"It doesn't happen a lot, but it happens enough for it to be annoying," said Cinthia Banegas, 44, of the Bronx who used a station while rollerblading at Riverside Park. "To have access to this, it's great."

AT&T, who paid for the project, set up one station at Riverside, another at Brooklyn Bridge Park and a third at Fort Greene Park Tuesday. They will install a fourth station at Union Square Park Wednesday and bring the rest to other boroughs throughout the summer.

The chargers, which have adapters for iPhones and micro USB powered devices, are operational 24/7.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that after Superstorm Sandy, he wanted to make sure the city had the infrastructure to weather any emergency.

"New Yorkers will have improved connectivity and access to the wireless technology that has become such an important part of our daily lives," the mayor said in a statement about the charging stations Tuesday.

Further, AT&T and the city announced that there is free Wi-Fi at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5 and Foley Square, on top of the 26 other parks that currently have Wi-Fi access throughout the city.

Some smartphone users had some safety concerns with the stations, especially because they're so out in the open.

"You need to make sure that it's safe before using it," said Jose Reyes, 21, of Inwood.

Rick Geiger, 58, of Midtown, however, said the benefits will be worth it.

"It will be great because now people will stop going to Starbucks to charge," he said.

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More stations on the way

In addition to Riverside, Brooklyn Bridge and Fort Greene parks, these spots will have charging stations:
Wednesday: Union Square Park and Governors Island
July 2: Rumsey Playfield — Central Park SummerStage and Coney Island
July 3: Rockaway Beach, Clearview Golf Course, and Socrates Sculpture Park — Rooftop Films
July 4: Orchard Beach and Hudson River Park — Pier 61
July 15: La Tourette Golf Course
Aug. 1: Randall’s Island
and Staten Island Zoo
Aug. 2: Metrotech Plaza — Rooftop Films
Between Sept. 9 and 23: Brooklyn Borough Hall and Brooklyn Book Festival
Between Sept. 20 and 30: DUMBO Arts Festival
 

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