For the thousands of tourists heading to New York City this weekend (as well as its everyday residents), Skype has a little New Year's present — free Wi-Fi across much of Manhattan. For 24 hours starting at noon on December 31st, just pull out your tablet, smartphone, or laptop and connect to a "Skype WiFi" hotspot and enjoy some free bandwidth — the underlying connection is being provided by Towerstream's commercial WiMAX network. Skype's claiming 16 neighborhoods around the city are covered, including SoHo, Union Square, Midtown, and Times Square, of course. Skype naturally wants you to use this service to make some video calls to loved ones as the ball drops, but it sounds like there's no restrictions on usage — the only question is whether or not the network can handle all the traffic this network will come under at midnight.
Skype's full list of neighborhoods covered: Times Square, West Village, East Village, South Village, Greenwich Village, NoHo, SoHo, Lower East Side, Clinton, Chelsea, Union Square, Midtown, Midtown South, Murray Hill, Stuyvesant Park and Turtle Bay.