NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Smart Benches

A soofa bench installed in a park

Whether you’re relaxing in the park, waiting your turn on the basketball court, or on your way to your next destination, you can now sit down at one of our new solar-powered smart benches and charge your phone or tablet.

These benches are part of a “Smarter Parks” initiative to better understand how public spaces are used and improve parks through the innovative use of technology. Not only do the benches let you charge your phone or tablet – they also aid NYC Parks in understanding how many people visit Highbridge Parks by counting the number of Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices that pass by. These visitor counts will lead to better park design, maintenance and programming for the benefit of all New Yorkers. 

Locations

Currently, our solar-powered benches are being tested at the Highbridge Parks in the Bronx and in Manhattan. Five benches will be installed in these parks for this pilot program.

How it Works

In order to use the mobile charging station, you need to have your phone and a USB charging cord. Just plug the USB cord into one of the two ports in front of the bench, and your phone will start charging!

Visitor Counts

These benches have a sensor that counts nearby Wi-Fi-enabled devices. No personally identifiable data is collected, and all data is anonymized and encrypted. Read the Privacy Policy for more information.

Parks will explore using the counts from these benches to guide our cleaning schedules, identify locations for events and programming, and measure pedestrian traffic across the High Bridge.

Wi-Fi Access

You can visit our Wi-Fi page to find available public wi-fi locations in our parks. You can access public wi-fi on the Manhattan side of the High Bridge through Time Warner Cable by connecting to SSID: “GuestWiFi.”

The Team

The solar-powered benches were built by Soofa, a leading innovative design firm, and installed in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation.

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