The last public payphone in New York City has been removed

Kisosk will go on display at a museum

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 24 May 2022 15:52
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NYC removes last free-standing pay phone

The last public payphone has been removed from New York City’s streets after a seven year programme to update the kiosks with high-tech equivalents.

On Monday, the payphone on 745 7th Avenue was lifted from its place near Seventh Avenue and 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan, marking an end of an era.

The design was once an icon of New York, and payphones were commonplace across the city decades ago, but became obsolete with the rise in cellphones and smartphones.

More than 2,000 LinkNYC kiosks offering wi-fi, charging points and phone calls have since appeared on New York’s streets.

The drive to replace the payphones with LinkNYC kiosks began in 2015 under former mayor Bill de Blasio, who introduced the plans the year before, according to the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation.

It said in a news release that the payphone removed on Monday will be taken to the Museum of the City of New York, where it will go on display.

“As a native New Yorker, saying goodbye to the last street pay phone is bittersweet because of the prominent place they’ve held in the city’s physical landscape for decades,” commissioner Matthew Fraser said.

“Just like we transitioned from the horse and buggy to the automobile and from the automobile to the airplane, the digital evolution has progressed from payphones to high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks to meet the demands of our rapidly changing daily communications needs,” he added.

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