SOUTH BEACH — Staten Islanders caught away from home with a dying cellphone no longer have to go begging for an outlet, thanks to a pilot program to install solar-powered phone charging stations to parks across the city.
“This is a demand that’s recurring throughout the city everyday,” Neil Giacobbi, spokesman for AT&T said.
The program started after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power for many residents across the city, and many people could not charge their phone to try and reach out to loved ones, Giacobbi said.
With still some Staten Islanders without power nearly 10 months after the storm, Borough President James Molinaro said the sun-powered chargers will give them a place to recharge their batteries.
“There’s still some people on Staten Island, believe it or not, that have no electric in their homes, so they will be helpful for them,” Molinaro said. “It’s helpful for people that come to the beach who forgot to charge their phones the night before. There’s no downside on them.”
Each station has plugs for USB and micro USB ports, as well as iPhone ports. The batteries hold energy, so beach goers can still recharge even at night.
Danielle McKay, of Oakwood, who was running on the boardwalk, said she thought they were a great idea, and would be great when she spends the day at the beach.
“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “I’m definitely using up the whole battery [when I’m at the beach]."
The stations have previously been installed in several parks and beaches around the city, mostly focusing on Sandy damaged areas, Giacobbi said. The chargers will stay installed for about three to four weeks until they are moved to a different location.
The pilot program will continue throughout the summer, with plans for them to be installed at La Tourette Golf Course, Randall’s Island, the Brooklyn Book Festival and the Dumbo Arts Festival. The stations will be put away throughout the winter, and Giacobbi said the company plans to bring them back out to beaches and parks next year.