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Dozens of LinkNYC Kiosks Landing in Brooklyn by End of the Year

By Alexandra Leon | October 19, 2016 6:08pm
 Dozens of LinkNYC kiosks will be rolled out in Brooklyn by the end of the year.
Dozens of LinkNYC kiosks will be rolled out in Brooklyn by the end of the year.
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DNAInfo/Noah Hurowitz

BROOKLYN — Dozens of LinkNYC kiosks will be installed in Brooklyn by the end of the year, city officials said.

The kiosks — currently available only in Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens — will provide residents with free Wi-Fi, free domestic calls, two USB charging ports, maps and a red 911 button.

While most of the kiosks will replace old phone booths, not every pay phone site is ideal for a kiosk, officials said at a Tuesday Community Board 2 meeting.

They presented an initial list of 13 proposed locations for new kiosks — those that won’t be at the site of old phone booths — in Brooklyn’s Community District 2, which covers Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Fort Greene, Fulton Ferry, Navy Yard and Vinegar Hill.

Courtesy LinkNYC via Community Board 2

The 9.5-foot machines, which are 35 inches at their widest, will be placed along Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights, near the DeKalb Avenue and Nevins Street subway stations in Downtown Brooklyn, and along Fulton Street in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. 

“We want people to be able to walk through Fulton, walk along your district and always be connected to the Wi-Fi,” said Ruth Fasoldt, an external affairs manager for LinkNYC.

The kiosks, which have been reviewed by the Landmarks and Preservation Commission, will not be installed in purely residential areas and will provide Wi-Fi to subscribers within a 150-foot radius, officials noted.  

The kiosks will no longer include web browsing after CityBridge, the firm that operates them, switched it off due to complaints of people watching porn on the sidewalk and crowding around them for hours

Still, residents remain concerned that the tall, skinny machines, which feature digital advertising, will be an eyesore.

“It’s like having billboards on the sidewalk,” Board 2 member Sandy Balboza said.

Fasoldt assured the board that because most of the kiosks will be located at pay phone sites, they’ll be going in locations that already featured advertising. She also said the digital ads will respond to ambient light and be dim at night.

Through proceeds from advertisements, the kiosks are estimated to generate more than $500 million in revenue for the city during the program’s first 12 years.

Over the next several years, CityBridge has said it will install more than 7,500 kiosks across the five boroughs.

The company has so far installed hundreds of the booths in Manhattan, more than two-dozen in The Bronx and more than a dozen in Queens.

Officials did not immediately say when or where the first LinkNYC kiosks would be installed in Brooklyn.