Twenty years ago, TV with an antenna, hidden prizes in cereal boxes, one-cent gumball machines, computer floppy and CD'S were something that became an important part of pop culture for every nineties kid. However, with time, all such things disappeared. Recently, the payphones, which were once a regular sight on the lanes of New York City, have gone extinct.
Another chapter in the slow demise of the landline telephone was written in New York City as the last payphones were officially removed on May 23, 2022, from a street corner near Times Square. It's officially an end of an era.
It's the final act in a saga that began in 2015. The city started removing phone booths and replacing them with LinkNYC kiosks, which provide free public Wi-Fi, charging ports, 911 buttons, and screens with maps and other services. They also generate revenue for the city.
On Monday, officials gathered in Times Square to say goodbye to the city's last free-standing public payphones (a bit of a misnomer, but more on that below). Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine posted a video of a crane slowly hoisting the phone booth, which had two corded phones separated by a divider, onto the bed of a truck.
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
Gone are the days when the payphone would connect you to your loved ones in return for just a penny. Payphones were not only about calling; hundreds of emotions were tied to them, like first hellos, last sobbing goodbyes, and many cherished garrulous memories. They were also a part of several sitcoms and other shows from the nineties era.
Remember when everything was black and white, and every nook and corner had a payphone? Maybe it has become a long-lost history; perhaps the world was slow and less agitated at that time. With the rising technology, the beauty of old times has vanished in the air; the world is speeding forward with every step. But few things will always stay close to our hearts, like payphones.
Payphones may be obsolete in the age of smartphones and smartwatches. However, city officials suspected they were still worth remembering — or marveling at- and our upcoming generation should be aware of the beauty of payphones and history.
According to Gothamist, the city contacted the Museum of the City of New York last week to see if it was interested in acquiring the last remaining relic.
We certainly miss the dial tones of these payphones.