The city’s last permanent payphone was removed from Times Square on Monday.
City officials bid farewell to the iconic coin-operated telephone booth when a crane tore it off the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue and West 50th Street on Monday morning.
Removing the phone marks the completion of the city Nearly a decade of effort to Replace old technology with LinksNYC kiosks, Which offers free Wi-Fi, local calling, mobile charging, access to 911 and 311, and other amenities.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, who has been in the process of removing the payphone, said he hopes its replacement will provide more equitable access to the technology for New Yorkers. Although he admitted that removing it was sweet and bitter.
He said on Twitter: “I won’t miss all the dial tone but I have to say I get a twinge of nostalgia when I see them disappear.”
The city, under the direction of Mayor Bill de Blasio, submitted a Request for Proposals to replace payphones in 2014 with new infrastructure that provides free, 24/7 public Wi-Fi.
CityBridge’s proposal to build the LinksNYC system was picked up the same year and the city began replacing old pay phones with new LinksNYC displays in 2016.
Most of the city’s payphones had been sent to the scrapyard by 2020. More than 7,500 public telephones had been replaced by about 2,000 LinksNYC kiosks in that time.
The Midtown payphone will be sent to the Museum of the City of New York as a relic of the times before cell phones were widely used. The show, Analog City: NYC BC (before computers), opened just last Friday.
However, New Yorkers looking for a bit of nostalgia on the city streets aren’t entirely out of luck.
“If I grew up in town in the ’90s and ’80s, I knew it was hard to use one of these,” Dandia Asad wrote on Twitter. “It is now a historical artifact.”
Another social media user simply wrote: “I don’t cry on a pay phone” with a crying emoji.
The payphone removed on Monday was the last city-owned payphone in the Big Apple. A few private payphones remain on public property, and four permanently closed telephone booths have been saved from removal along the West End of the Upper West Side.
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