Brooklyn's Best Outdoor Spots for Wireless Workers
BROOKLYN — For the rank and file of Brooklyn's independent workforce, summer means fighting over every inch of hip cafe courtyard, typing with croissant-flaked fingers while wedged between waxed mustaches and tattoo sleeves for the joy of working outdoors.
But all across the borough, untethered workers are eschewing overcrowded 'coffices' for secret (and not-so-secret) gardens of wireless delight where there are no $3 coffees, bratty baristas or Bon Iver.
Best of all? In these wifi-enabled Edens, everything's free but the sunscreen.
Fort Greene Park, Fort Greene
The sun-dappled peak of Fort Greene Park is better known as a gathering place of martial artists than mixed-media ones but, little by little, the hilltop has started to attract freelancers.
"This hilltop is a good location between nature and distraction," said Alex Kennedy, 28, who has started making regular trips to the park with his laptop to take advantage of the city-supplied wireless. "It's outside, and you don't have to pay anything."
Fort Greene is one of six wifi-enabled city parks in Brooklyn but, unlike its wired brethren, it's peacefully uncrowded on weekdays.
"I do work in cafes sometimes and I do a lot of work at home," said pal Austin Kilham, 27, a freelancer who said he prefers the tranquility of Fort Greene over the convenience of McCarren Park near his home in Williamsburg.
"I try to leave as much as possible to try new places."
LaunchPad, Crown Heights
What could possibly improve the perfect summer cocktail of sun, shade, and wireless Internet?
Electrical outlets, of course.
Crown Heights' LaunchPad has them, along with an immaculately maintained toilet and a tiny kitchen where brownbag lunches are more than welcome. What's more, the community arts space makes those amenities — along with its well hidden but secretly ample back yard — available to the public during twice-weekly open access hours.
"I don’t know many people that do an open access," curator Zane Van Dusen told DNAinfo New York during a March interview. "You can come in here and do whatever you want."
"Whatever" includes everything from welding to yoga, though tamer, laptop-based activities are welcome, too.
Check LaunchPad's calendar for open access hours.
Pearl Street Triangle, DUMBO
In DUMBO, free wireless is practically a civil right. The neighborhood took the web to the streets years before the city started doing it — but that doesn't make the cafes there any less crowded.
Fortunately, there's still plenty of seats at the Pearl Street Triangle.
"You don't feel guilty if you don't buy anything here," said Yoni Cohen, who took a quick work break with his laptop in the square while visiting from from Mountain View, California. "This way, I can see the sun."
Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Heights
Brooklyn's Central Library could hardly be called hidden, between its grand, gold-plated exterior its prominent location near the heart of the borough and at the intersection of some of its busiest arteries.
The secret is, it's expansive open-air plaza is fully wired.
"I focus best when I'm not at home, but I don't want to spend money," said 19-year-old Deborah Lora of Crown Heights, who took advantage of a shady seat on the plaza's periphery to fill out a school application. "I enjoy being outside — I need sun in order to feel my best. "
While the space is neither tranquil nor particularly quiet, for Lora, the atmosphere provides inspiration.
"Sometimes there's a lot going on," Lora acknowledged. "That may be very distracting for some people, but I find it interesting."