"This neighborhood can claim to be the first in Manhattan with totally free outdoor Wi-Fi," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was also at the press conference.
Bloomberg noted that this is not the city's first free Wi-Fi. Twenty parks around the city have complimentary wireless service, with another 32 to be connected in the near future. Google, along with Boingo Wireless, also outfitted some of the city's subway stations with free Wi-Fi last year.
Just south of midtown Manhattan, Chelsea is a busy mix of commercial businesses and homes, both high-end luxury condominiums and public housing. It is home to the fashion district, which generates a lot of tourist traffic, as well as to a number of technology companies, such as Google. "This neighborhood is one of the epicenters for New York's booming tech center," Bloomberg boasted.
The project has no connection to another Google effort to install high-speed fiber optic Internet connectivity to Kansas City homes, Fried said.