HARLEM — Visitors to Rucker Park can now watch an intense game of basketball while surfing the web.
The Harlem landmark, known for its famed basketball tournament, became the 22nd park in the city to be outfitted with free Wi-Fi Monday, one of 26 locations in 20 city parks with the service so far.
"This popular initiative is one more reason New York City is well on its way to becoming the nation’s leading digital city," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
The effort, in conjunction with AT&T, will allow anyone with a smartphone or tablet to connect to the service regardless of whether they are AT&T customers, officials said.
The Entertainer's Basketball Classic, which has drawn NBA ballers from Kobe Bryant to Kevin Durant, starts on June 18, said Greg Marius, CEO and founder of the tournament.
"It's great for the community because a lot of people have phones and tablets and are trying to save on their bill. They can come connect while watching the games or if they are just in the park with their kids," said Marius, who added that AT&T is also a sponsor of this year's tournament.
The park has drawn renewed attention lately. As DNAinfo New York first reported in January, Community Board 10 wants to make the park Central Harlem's first designated scenic landmark. Last summer, Durant, an NBA scoring champion, dropped 66 points at the Entertainer's Basketball Classic.
Marius said the Wi-Fi will also come in handy because he is trying to get a new video scoreboard installed that will allow them to show replays and display texts and tweets from the fans. The goal is to have the scoreboard up shortly after the tournament starts, Marius said.
Since the initiative started a year ago, 2.7 million total connections, averaging more than 10,000 connections per day, have been made from city parks, according to officials.