Here's something we never knew we needed: an umbrella sharing service.
Rentbrella is a Brazilian company that has recently installed over 35 umbrella sharing stations in high-traffic areas all over Manhattan. Each station is home to 80-100 umbrellas that New Yorkers can grab for free and use for 24 hours before returning them.
Goodbye, $10 kiosk umbrellas that break after a two-block walk!
The process is pretty straightforward: download the Rentbrella app, find the station nearest to you on the map, tap the "I want an umbrella" icon, scan the QR code on the station screen and then use the token generated in the app to unlock the item. Blue lights will start blinding around the umbrella that has been shared with you and you will have 24 hours to use it for free (the complementary period is longer during weekends and holidays).
If you hold on to the item for more than 24 hours, you will be charged $2 a day until the end of the third day—after which you'll be charged a one-time fee of $16. You can even opt to purchase the umbrella straightaway for $16.
Once you're done using the product, you'll be able to return it to any Rentbrella station.
Not only are the umbrellas free, but they were developed specifically to withstand New York's climate. They are all rain and sun resistant, made with state-of-the-art hydrophobic material and fiberglass (it provides extra shielding from those strong winds that seem to always break everyone's umbrellas!) and boasting UV protection capabilities.
Bonus points: the endeavor is an eco-friendly one as each umbrella is made from recycled PET bottles.
The service first debuted in Brazil back in 2018 and New York will be the brand's first U.S. market. Freddy Marcos, co-founder of Rentbrella, reveals that the company plans to have 300 kiosks in New York City by the end of this year. Yes, that's a lot of umbrellas and, yes, they are very much needed around here.