For about $65,000, Two Trees Management, which owns a number of buildings in the neighborhood, had the nonprofit organization NYCwireless install the equipment necessary for the network's functionality.
The Dumbo Improvement District is one of 56 business improvement districts in New York City, and receives oversight and professional support from the New York City Department of Small Business Services. One of its purposes is to market and promote the area to attract new businesses and visitors.
“We see a whole bunch of benefits in terms of the growth trajectory of the neighborhood and the kinds of folks that are down here and that we want to attract here,” Tucker Reed, director of special projects for Two Trees, said to the NY Times.
Alexandria Sica, executive director of the Dumbo Business Improvement District, told dumbonyc.com that as the area is an epicenter for digital start-ups, Wi-Fi is just another way to inspire the workforce, encourage creativity and entrepreneurial activity, and attract new talent to the area. Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough president, went on to say that as a growing hub for those in the tech and social media space, one day Dumbo will "rival Silicon Valley in terms of high tech ingenuity."
The number of neighborhoods with wireless access in Manhattan is surely limited, but the Dumbo initiative marks an improvement in the city's efforts to offer more connectivity, and points to the possibility of a much more expansive free wireless network in the future.
In the Times article, Andrew Brent, spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg, said that the city encourages partnerships such as the one between Two Trees and the Dumbo Improvement District, and noted that the city is “directly engaging private sector partners to expand Wi-Fi service in city parks and public spaces.”