These City Benches Charge Your Phone

Finding places to charge your phone while you're out and about can be a pain, but what if it was as simple as finding a city bench? Benches that can charge your phone are coming to New York City, and it might be the most exciting innovation New Yorkers have gotten to experience since the days of the cronut. And they'll probably be popular for longer, too. Since, you know, it's not like we're going to get bored with smartphones any time soon.

Benches that act as charging stations are not actually a new invention. Soofa benches, which use solar panels to generate power and include USB ports for phone chargers, originally launched in Boston and have quietly spread to 12 states and five countries. And now New York will finally be getting in on this awesomeness. Five of these benches will be coming the Highbridge Parks, which are located in Manhattan and the Bronx along a bridge that stretches between the two boroughs.

Each bench can seat three people and includes two USB ports. They also can help track how many people are using the park by monitoring Wifi usage, which NYC Parks hopes will help them better pin down the best times for cleaning and maintenance in the park. And is also kind of creepy when you think about it, but let's not dwell on the part where the benches are watching us and focus on the part where they'll let us charge things.

Just seems better that way.

And so far, people seem pretty excited about it.

And, honestly, given how versatile solar power is, I've never fully understood why we don't have more things powered by it, including charging stations. It seems like by now things like solar-powered traffic lights or electronic billboards should be normal — maybe even solar panels at bigger locations like above-ground subway stations to add a little juice.

And for outdoor charging stations, the idea seems downright obvious. After all, if the difficulty is connecting a station to the electrical grid, why not just bypass the rid altogether and take advantage of the free energy beaming in from outer space?

Fortunately, if you live in New York, there are now some very cute benches that do just that.