The Last Public Payphone In NYC Is Gone, Spelling The End Of An Era
By Mikelle Leow, 24 May 2022
Image via LinkNYC
It’s hello, the future, and talk to you soon, payphones. On Monday, officials removed the very last public payphone in New York City, putting the act of fiddling for coins to make calls in the past.
The uprooting of the phone box, which stood at 745 Seventh Ave, marks the end of an eight-year project to phase out public payphones in favor of modern technology.
END OF AN ERA.— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) May 23, 2022
NYC’s last free-standing pay phones removed this a.m. in Times Sq. (7th Ave & 50th St.).
No more fishing in your pocket for quarters.pic.twitter.com/ZtRhzWPp4G
Replacing them are the LinkNYC monoliths developed by CityBridge, which not only allow locals to make free phone calls but also inform them of commute times and weather conditions. Evidently, they present a myriad more functions than traditional telephones—which, in a mobile-first era, no longer serve their purpose.
To date, there are about 2,000 of the high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks peppered in all five boroughs, helping New Yorkers get around the city more efficiently.
It’s worth noting that, while the payphone was the last public booth remaining, there are still several private-owned boxes standing in the city, as the fact-checking site Snopes stresses.
Matthew Fraser, Commissioner of the Office of Technology and Innovation, described the teardown as a bittersweet moment, but emphasized that the city’s infrastructure must evolve to meet people’s rapidly-changing needs.
If you’d like to have some closure, you can rest easy. The payphone will be moved to the Museum of the City of New York, where it will stand as an exhibit among other pre-digital relics at the new Analog City: NYC BC (Before Computers) show.
It was kismet, really. City officials had caught the museum’s curators at the right time, as the exhibition only opened last Friday. Although unplanned, the installation of the public telephone fits the theme to a T.
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