No one really knows how many cell antennas are within New York City. The most accurate number hovers above 14,000 of them in the five boroughs, providing cell coverage for over 8 million people. Now this is more than just cell service- this is massive amounts of data being pushed and pulled in every direction at all times ranging from calls and texts to the porn you’re probably watching on your phone on your other browser window (don’t lie)....
Around the 1990s, once people realized the advantages of being reached wherever they went, the demand for cell coverage increased; rapidly, might I add. In New York this coincided with two trends: first, the late 1990s were a time when condos and co-op boards alike realized that the air above their properties were an untapped source of income. That’s right: the concept of air rights had matured around this time. Before you knew it, real estate had found its newest cash crop in the arbitrary and at times bizarre world of air rights. A demand had been created with the cell phone era, and real estate was more than happy to provide that supply. Second, around the end of the 1990s Bell Atlantic and NYNEX (two offshoots of the once mighty Ma Bell; the phone monopoly AT&T had before 1984) merged into one company to purchase telecom pioneer GTE. This ménage a trois led to the creation of Verizon on June 30, 2000. Verizon held, and still does, a near monopoly on telecom within New York. The presence of a centralized corporate entity able to build sites and lease air was the final push needed to create the first contractions of a smart city that dominates our lives today. The largest cluster of cell sites are in Midtown Manhattan, while historic districts and the outer rim of Queens tend to be a bit more sparse due to zoning restrictions and limits. Next time your reading one of my captions, remember that a real estate scheme, a corporate Frankenstein, innovations in GPS data and radio frequencies, deregulation, and the ever pressing need to be “on” always made our connection possible through the celestial skies. #newyork #newyorkcity #longislandcity #sunset #celltower #wanderingnomadnyc #nycprimeshot #nycexplorers