This scene takes place in Long Island City.
For some of those who are cognizant of the neighborhood (mainly tourists and real estate speculators), it’s mostly known for it’s wide array of steel and glass towers that have been developed in the Queens Plaza area in a remarkably short period of time. But beyond the luxury tower pestilence are vast areas of industrial and warehouse buildings and now it’s known to have the first LinkNYC 5G wifi transmitter tower in the five boroughs.
Remarkably for a 50 ft obelisk, it doesn’t really give out what an eyesore it is and it doesn’t really look distinguishable from each of the corner lampposts.
Until you actually get closer to it.
Aesthetically, this wifi sentinel really gives off dystopian society vibes. But it’s too massively conspicuous to be something out of Black Mirror, it kinda looks something illustrated in 60’s/70’s science fiction movies or from cheesy serials like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers than Star Trek or Battlestar Gallatica. But what it does share from Mirror is its potential to usurp personal data on a wider scale than the current crop of wifi kiosks that were induced on NYC streets years ago by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his consigliere Maya Wiley, spending billions of dollars giving Google offshoot CityBridge a gaudy contract and replacing old phone booths with LinkNYC kiosks, which turned out to be another horrendous profligate spending boondoggle for taxpayers when it turned out that all their promises of online equity turned to shit when they ran out of money to expand them to other boroughs failing to build up revenue from advertising that never transpired and only installed a fifth of them.
So instead of terminating this contract after City Bridge lost 75 million dollars, de Blasio and municipal tech agency Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications gave CityBridge a city budget mulligan with a new contract for these creepy three story 5G q-tips. Though not much is said if the city will at least take down the current ones which have been commonly and mostly used by the homeless as headboards for their cardboard street mattresses as well as multimedia entertainment amenity and has also been vulnerable to violent vandalism
It’s truly hilarious how they market these behemoth eyesores as a “game changer” that’s going to “reimagine” how people use the internets, even more funnier is how the city and the CityBridge proclaims how it will make it more equitable for lower income areas, which strains credulity since they shortchanged most of these areas with their original wifi kiosks when the speculative money ran out and didn’t come in (most of the advertising was for NYC municipal service agencies, which ironically and atypically also short changes low income area residents). Which is why it’s hilarious they decided to plant this thing in a desolate area in Long Island City, home to the biggest growth of luxury tower pestilence this city has seen in the last half decade and rapid gentrification, hardly an area that needs access for internet service, especially free service.
Although it’s probably because residents of the targeted neighborhoods to plant these 5G sentinels would be instantly repelled to see one of these drop on their block not only because of their ugly presence, but the obvious widespread invasion of privacy and another inevitable rise in rents and gentrification that usually comes with any upgrade that comes to a town. Surely that factor came into mind when the city placed it in this desolate industrial area in LIC instead of the promised “internet deserts” of towns like Brownsville and Hollis where “NIMBY” resistance will surely surface. And planted it right by the Typhin Steel factory warehouse building, whose owner’s son just happens to be New York City’s top YIMBY actorvist Ben Carlos Typhin of Open New York, a tech bro and gal based real estate lobby group consisting of millenial pro-over-development fauxgressive scientologists that have influenced the city’s “affordable” housing policies and radical changes to street infrastructure which led to the rise of the luxury public housing phenomenon that built more housing for the rich that don’t exist and a neofeudal competition lottery for lower and middle income earners to get access to those apartments and the proliferation of street curb restaurant shanties and bike lanes that have suffocated once ample road space.
Currently, this 5G tower hasn’t been activated yet and construction for nearly a hundred of these heinous data succubi will begin and up and running by Autumn, provided they don’t run into community resistance, which is surely a given since the city doesn’t even care to deign to the concerns of taxpayers anymore and can just drop this shit on the streets and rightly expect acclimation because this city is run by kakistrocracy of elected officials obeisant and subservient to corporations, in this case Google. Even though internet desert towns will soon be able to stream, tweet, and post Facebook/Instagram and Tik Tok faster, this convenience culture provided by the 5G sentinels comes with a heavier and uglier price of municipal spending waste and sacrifice of personal freedoms.