Last year when I was in New York City, I began to notice a number of tall, futuristic-looking kiosks located on Manhattan pavements. I soon learned that they were part of a bold new experiment, funded (and owned) by Google. The kiosks provide free WiFi access to users as well as allow people to make free telephone calls, use USB ports to charge devices, access maps, and initially at least, use the built in browser for the usual online purposes.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to use the kiosks since those that I did find, seemed to have been commandeered by one of the many street people in the city. Not that they didn’t have a right to use the kiosks, but from what I could see, they would sit by the kiosks, sometimes for hours, listening, watching, reading, and accessing who knows what content. Well, as it happens, we do know what some people were accessing (although not necessarily street people), with the result that the internet browser function of the kiosks has now been disabled after complaints that people were using the kiosks to watch pornography.
The installation of the LinkNYC kiosks was just a few months into its schedule when I visited New York over the summer of 2016. After a full twelve months of ongoing work, the system continues to be expanded across the city. Michael Garofalo, in this online article provides the following statistics about the program. All data is current as of the week of February 27, 2017.
• 631 LinkNYC kiosks currently active, of a planned 7,500
• 1,256,450 unique devices connected to the Wi-Fi network to date, approximately one for every seven New Yorkers
• 115 million Wi-Fi sessions served to date
• 870.86 terabytes of data transferred to date, the rough equivalent of streaming 33 years of high definition video on Netflix
• 150 feet wireless signal range of each kiosk
• 600,000 Wi-Fi sessions served in year one by the city’s most popular kiosk, at 1313 Broadway in Herald Square
• $0 spent by New York City taxpayers on the system, which is operated by a franchisee and generates revenue through advertising and sponsorships
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Housed in the old Customs House close to the foot of Manhattan, and across the road from the Bowling Green (4 and 5 trains) subway, is New York City’s National Museum of the American Indian. There is also another National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC, and no doubt there are more museums touting their own collections in cities across the United States.
Not to be outdone or ignored, is the collection of Native American artefacts housed at the Metropolitan Museum on Fifth Avenue.
Mary Gregory reports that: A small but extraordinary collection of Native American masterpieces is in its final days at the Met Fifth Avenue. Consider a visit to this show as a concise course in Native American art history. From the second century to the 20th, from the Plains to the Southwest to the Northwest Coast, “Native American Masterpieces from the Charles and Valerie Diker Collection” highlights some of the best works ever made in each age and place. It’s like a greatest hits compilation, and not a single piece disappoints.
The exhibition ends in ten days—March 31, 2017—so be quick. See it before it ends.
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A bit less conventional for some, perhaps is a new exhibition which opened this month at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York’s SoHo neighbourhood.
Clair Wang writes: The large, wooden cross hibernating in the back corner of the spacious studio resembles a cactus from afar. Pinned against a white wall, its body is punctured by dozens of colorful glass vials, each containing an assortment of objects that represent a day in the life of mixed-media artist Edward A. Hochschild.
The “Vial Cross” is one of roughly 250 works displayed at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art’s current exhibition, “Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting,” which opened March 10. The exhibit is the Wooster Street museum’s first following an expansion that nearly doubled the size of its original space. The effort, begun in October, will allow the museum to operate year-round, offering a mix of ongoing and future exhibitions, film screenings and artist lectures.
IF YOU GO
26, Wooster Street, New York City
Ph: +1 212-431-2609