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New York City retires the last public payphone from service

New York City's final payphone has been removed in midtown. End of an era.

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There are a lot of things that come to mind when you think of New York City: skyscrapers, taxis, pizza, the list goes on. Among those was once the payphones that populated many of the city's streets, but have seen dwindling numbers since a campaign to replace them was kicked off nearly a decade ago. This week marked the official end of an era as the last public payphone was removed from New York City’s streets.

New York City’s final payphone was removed on May 23, 2022. Located in Midtown Manhattan, workers yanked the payphone from the ground and hauled it away on a truck. Luckily, the relic that is the final NYC payphone won’t be lost forever, as it will be put on display in the Museum of the City of New York. It will be featured in an exhibit that highlights NYC life prior to computers and their associated technologies.

nyc payphone removed

New York City first began removing public payphones back in 2014 under Mayor Bill de Blasio. The removed payphones have been replaced with LinkNYC kiosks developed by CityBridge. These special kiosks provide Wi-Fi and phone charging in addition to the ability to make free phone calls. This will be the case for the final payphone that was removed earlier this week. According to LinkNYC, it has over 2,000 kiosks across New York City, which residents and tourists can find using a map on the company website.

“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,” said NYC commissioner Matthew Fraser.

While it’s certainly surreal to see what was once a staple of the NYC streets become a relic of the past, it’s hard to argue against the payphone’s obsolescence in the modern era.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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