by Kevin Walsh

One of the last enclosed public phone booths in New York City can be found, or could (this photo was taken 3 years ago) at West End Avenue and West 66th. There are other booths like this, old fashioned ones made of wood and with doors that close, in restaurants, bars, libraries around town.

Formerly, similar plexiglass booths had closable doors and phone books (after vandalism those were removed). Public phone stanchions gradually got smaller in size, until many such are just posts with phones affixed at the top. So, we became gradually acclimated to speaking about what in many cases are very personal circumstances in public, for all to hear. When portable wireless phones became widespread in the early 1990s, there was no embarrassment factor at all, and consideration for others’ desire for peace and quiet was forever lost. In fact, many people now raise their voices deliberately when talking on cellular phones to define their space or intimidate others.

Your timid Webmaster preferred the time when you entered a booth, dropped in a dime, closed the door, and no one heard you except whom you were calling.




allen September 26, 2011 - 11:12 am

It’s still there! I stand next to it daily, waiting for the M57…I always wonder if it will be the last time, when it will be taken away. Kind of amazed it is not vandalized..or used as a public toilet.

PeteRFNY September 27, 2011 - 10:28 am

It’s most definitely still there, right across the street from where I work. I see it every day!

Robert Craig September 27, 2011 - 7:02 pm

Where would Clark Kent change into Superman today?

Peggy November 11, 2011 - 8:08 pm

That’s a phone booth? I take a dump in there about once a week.

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