SOUTH BRONX -- Hunts Point Riverside Park is the latest outdoor city space to join the digital era, after city officials and AT&T launched free Wi-Fi at the park on Tuesday.
Park-goers can now use their laptops, smartphones and tablets to surf the web free of charge, thanks to an initiative started last year by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and AT&T that will provide free Internet access at 26 park locations across the city.
"All you have to do is turn on your device and it automatically connects," said Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T in New York, at Tuesday's announcement, where she and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. used Apple iPads to demonstrate the new service.
Unlike many other Internet hotspots across the city, Diaz said, the new park wireless does not require a password or log-in to use.
"You can come to this park, you can download some music, look at a movie or a show you missed," the borough president said.
Park-goers on Tuesday said they welcomed the digital improvement.
"It would be better if I had service -- I would stay a little longer," said 20-year-old Raisa Lopez, who lives nearby.
"You could come down here with a laptop while the kids play and just sit down," agreed Chelsey Jines, 16.
Hunts Point Riverside is the 24th park location in the city to get AT&T Wi-Fi so far, and the third in the Bronx. Diaz said the wireless service is just another selling-point for the picturesque 1.4-acre waterfront park, which he called the "oasis" of Hunts Point.
"Hunts Point many years ago was a place that was desolate and industrial," Diaz said Tuesday. "This is the fruit of the work of so many people in this community."
Located at Lafayette Avenue and Edgewater Road, Hunts Point Riverside Park opened in 2007 after several years of planning and advocacy by a number South Bronx community groups. The site was a vacant lot and former illegal dumping ground, but now serves as one of the southern links along the Bronx River Greenway, a collection of waterfront parks along the Bronx River.
Hunts Point Riverside Park is the third Bronx park location to go wireless. Last year, free AT&T wireless service was added around the north playground of Joyce Kilmer Park, on the Grand Concourse near Yankee Stadium, and at Devoe Park on West Fordham Road and University Avenue.