07 February 2012

The Last Working Phone Booths in New York?


The other day, when I was spending my final hours in the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, and found that their wooden phone booth phone still worked, I thought to myself, So, is this the last one?

This blog has an obsession with phone booths. And over the past 18 months I have noticed that in very quick fashion the City's surviving phone booths have been going out of order, their dial tones taken away and often the very phone yanked out, even as the booth remains. And sometimes the booth goes too! I've gotten used to picking up a receiver in a phone booth and hearing nothing. It's become so it's starling when I do encounter a working phone.

I'm sure there are other phone booths in the City that still work. But if you were ask me right now where one was, the only ones I could think of are the several banks of phone booths you can find in the lower levels of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. I do not know why the library has chosen to keep them going. Perhaps it's willing to pay the phone company the high fees it asks to keep phone booth in operation; something most businesses aren't willing to do.

13 comments:

Peter said...

The NYPL's pay phones were a crucial plot point in the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

James Campbell Taylor said...

What about the four phone booths dotted along West End Avenue (between 66th and the upper 90s)? Are you saying they don't work anymore? Or have they been removed?

esquared said...

I used to work for the NYPL at that research branch, and I see those phone booths are being used, still, as a "phone booth", i.e, where the employees make their calls in their mobile phones, and as a warming area by the security guards on cold winter days.

Mitch said...

Surely you must know about these, not far from where I live:

http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=852

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I know about them, yes. Don't know if they're still there, or working. With this post, I was specifically thinking about indoor phone booths, tho.

BabyDave said...

What about McManus on Seventh Avenue. Is that booth still there?

mt said...

not to be a wet blanket, but those indoor booths are not really that uncommon. off the top of my head i can think of at least a half-dozen i've seen in the last several months, at different kinds of places. some of them still get phone books delivered even when there is no phone in the booth. i've used the NYPL booths. last time i did the phones were the semi-rare type that allowed for calls of unlimited duration for 50¢. one of the most amazing thing i've seen in 20+ years of living in NYC was a live set of those old green phone booths that you see in 1970s-era movies set in New York. i woulda thought those things landed at the junkyard decades ago.

Dan said...

From what I hear the orginal phone booth (and a working phone) is coming back to O'Connor's.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

MT: They are more and more uncommon, sorry to say. Not sure where you're seeing them. Do you check to see if they have phones in them. Or if they are working?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Dan, that is great news, if true, about O'Connor's.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

What happened to the one at the Capri Social Club? I was there not long ago & forgot to check. Is it still there?

Carol Gardens said...

I think there is a bank of old fashioned phone booths underneath the UBS building in the underground maze of Rockefeller Center. Those are the ones I always think of. I'll take a pic next time I am over there. This guy happens to mention those: http://payphonepictures.com/main.php?g2_itemId=44571

Amy said...

I believe that there are a few working phone booths in the lobby of New York Hospital - 68th Street and York Avenue