cafe.jpg Recently, Gothamist left our Unabomber-style shack to blog from the local coffee shop. That is, until we saw the pricetag to get on their wi-fi network: 6 bucks an hour or 30 bucks a month! We said, no thanks, and returned to our shack where we already pay 30 bucks a month to get on-line and started looking up free wi-fi spots in the City. We found this great site that lists some places to surf the web without having to pay a dime. But we were surprised to learn that New York is so lagging when it comes to setting up a city-wide wireless network and also has no intention to do so.

The Daily News reports that New York trails other major U.S. cities when it comes to providing citizens with wireless internet access. Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Portland have already placed bids to build citywide wi-fi networks which will allow people to get on the web from any park bench, bus stop, or café. Apparently NYC has been planning to set up a city-wide network for use by government officials, police officers, and firemen but this will be off-limits to the general public.

Trying to cope with this dearth of internet access, many people (you know who you are) “piggyback” on the unprotected networks of hapless souls who don’t set up a secure password. The New York Times reports that many people don’t consider this stealing and are slowing down the networks of those around them.

Do Gothamist readers have any recommended (free) wi-fi spots?