LinkNYC invites Valentine's Day marriage proposals, love Instagrams

| by Elliot Maras
LinkNYC invites Valentine's Day marriage proposals, love Instagrams

Photo courtesy of Link,

Looking to pop the big question on Valentine's Day? If you happen to be in New York City, you can catch your beloved's attention as they approach one of LinkNYC's Wi-Fi kiosks.

For the second straight year, Link, which operates the LinkNYC Wi-Fi kiosks, has invited the marriage minded to post their proposals on the city's 1,280 LinkNYC kiosks for all passersby to see.

"We expect more proposals this year than last year," Ruth Fasoldt, Link's director of external affairs, told Kiosk Marketplace. Last year saw two marriage proposals on Link. So far this year, five are planned and more are expected. 

Tag Instagram love notes

Residents who are not in marriage mode but feeling nonetheless amorous can tag their Valentine's Day entreaties on Instagram for a chance to be featured on the 55-inch digital displays throughout the city's five boroughs.

Link will review every tagged Instagram photo to make sure it's not too risque before putting it on the screens. Every appropriate picture will likely be featured. Link will ask users for permission before posting their photos.

Link has promoted the Valentine's Day campaign on the kiosks and through social media.

Over 500 posts already

"I've just been so delighted to see all the different ways that love wins across New York City," said Kate Blumm, assistant commissioner for communications and external affairs for the city's department of information technology and telecommunications, noting that as of Tuesday afternoon (the day before Valentine's Day) there were more than 500 posts.

"It's everything from casual snapshots to more formal wedding pictures," she said. The city has promoted the campaign on its own social media channels.

Blumm said the Valentine's Day promotion brings "community value" to residents.

"It enhances civic pride," she said. "It makes people feel a personal connection to the program. It makes it (the kiosk) less a hunk of metal and more of a community asset and something that they can have a human connection to."

"We want to make sure that Links are bringing community value to the corners that they're on, and the more that people can see themselves reflected in the Links, the more valuable we think they'll be to New Yorkers," she added.

More activities planned

Link is also celebrating Black History Month this month in New York City in partnership with a non-profit called Global Kids. Illustrations by students of famous black figures in science are being displayed on Links citywide.

"That's a very specific New York City, New Yorker driven way to commemorate Black History Month," Blumm said. "That's the kind of stuff we're going to continue to deepen over the course of the year."

"The benefit to the city for Links in general is really vast," Blumm said. "We're replacing pay phones which have special places in the city's history but certainly are outdated in terms of their utility to New Yorkers."

"We're going to continue to highlight the people, places and things that are special to New York City in particular," she said.

Link kiosks allow residents to make domestic phone calls for free as well as provide access to city services. Residents were able to enroll in healthcare coverage up through the Jan. 31 enrollment deadline.

Long-term benefits to accrue

"Link is going above and beyond a traditional communications structure," Blumm said. "Not only is it at no cost to taxpayers, but the city of New York and the people of New York are guaranteed a minimum of $500 million over the life of the Link franchise."

The revenue, generated by paid advertising, is paid to the city annually and will support city services. The kiosks have two panels that run digital advertising.

Since New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the public launch of LinkNYC in early 2016, more than 3.2 million people have used the free gigabit Wi-Fi service. 

"They are certainly a flagship smart city innovation," Blumm said of the Link kiosks.

"The community engagement part of Link will always be important," Fastold said. The campaigns will always be tailored to the particular community being served. Outside of New York City, Link operates in the United Kingdom and will be operating in Philadelphia.

Link has also done Instagram campaigns for other events, such as Fashion Week and Halloween.


Topics: Advertising, Customer Experience, Government, Networking / Connectivity, Outdoor Kiosks, Wayfinding / Information

Elliot Maras

Elliot Maras is the editor of and

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