If you’ve been reading airport surveys lately, you don’t have to be told: New York City’s airports—Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport—routinely finish close to last in these popularity contests.
But someone else is reading the polls—people who can actually fix what we hate most out the Big Apple’s gateways. So as of today, at least one thing is getting better: You can log on to the internet from your devices, gratis, at all three major airport hubs, as well as at Stewart Airport in Newburgh. That’s right: No more having to whip out your credit card to get anything more than a half-hour of web use, or to crouch on the floor by the first-class lounge whose password you’ve glommed on to.
Until now, most New York area terminals have charged for Wi-Fi after the first 30 minutes, under an arrangement with provider Boingo, with a few exceptions. (At JetBlue’s Terminal 5 in JFK, the airline has arranged for complimentary access for passengers.) And it’s not just free; the new Wi-Fi will also be faster: at least 20 megabits per second and up to 50 megabits per second with two-click access.
A more robust bandwidth will also let customers stream Netflix, conduct video conferences, or download large files. “Our testing consistently showed speeds that will comfortably allow for that,” says Robert Galvin, Port Authority’s chief technology officer. This Wi-Fi speed will put New York airports well above the average: A new ranking of services at 15 top U.S. airports, drawing on data from Orbitz, shows that while most of these airports offer free Wi-Fi, some networks are a lot faster than others, ranging from a low of 9.52 megabits per second at Phoenix Sky Harbor to 103 megabits per second at Seattle-Tacoma International.
Fliers can get up to four hours of free use, so unless you’re truly stranded at the airport, you’ll have more than enough time to surf the web. Getting online, too, is simple: Travelers can log on by selecting the wireless network at their airport, such as FreeJFKWiFi, and then hitting “select.” (A short ad may play, but before you know it, you’ll be connected.) “Passengers shouldn’t have to wait for better Wi-Fi,” says Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, noting that free and fast access has evolved from being a perk to “a bedrock expectation for today’s customers.”
The timing is no accident. The airports’ own surveys showed that free high-speed Wi-Fi was at the top of passengers’ wish lists. And, as Cotton put it, the move will be part of a slew of improvements to raise the area’s airports “from the bottom rung of customer experience survey up the curve toward greatly improved levels of customer service.” After all, New York airports are already being ripped up and rebuilt: LaGuardia’s in the throes of an $8 billion makeover, and New York governor Andrew Cuomo has just revealed details of what’s expected to be a $13 billion gut renovation of much of JFK Airport. But fliers won’t see the results for years, and in the meantime, they may have to endure a lot more stress to get to the gate.
But if their patience is running out, hey, at least free unlimited Wi-Fi might ease some of the pain.
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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