Wall Street meets hippies as green energy turns into big business


Lower Manhattan is a place that rings with “the sound of well-educated young white men baying for money on the bond market,” in the immortal words of Tom Wolfe. But these days the world’s financial center is also forging a new identify as a clean, green and always-connected community.

I took a recent walk on, and around, Wall Street, where a host of new amenities are sprouting up, including solar-powered public phone chargers outside of the Bowling Green station:

Solar charger at Bowling Green

The chargers, which let passersby obtain a quick burst of juice for a variety of mobile devices, are located near another urban innovation: a growing corridor of free Wi-Fi that runs through part of the Financial District, including Wall Street. I tried it out, and it produced a strong, reliable signal with no log-in rigamarole.

Downtown WifiAs the screenshot shows, the Wi-Fi is provided by the Downtown Alliance, a public-private organization that promotes business development and civic life in…

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