Crews Remove the Last Functioning Pay Phone In New York City

Yesterday, officials held a ceremony for the removal of the last public pay phone in New York City. It was removed with the assistance of a crane from a sidewalk on 7th Avenue and 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan, just south of Times Square. The booth’s removal marked the end of the pay phone era. The city began removing the pay phones in 2015, as they became obsolete, replacing them with public Wi-Fi hotspots. Since then, the city has removed thousands of pay phones across all five boroughs. In 2014, there were more than 6,000 active public pay phones on city sidewalks. They were slated to be removed by 2020, but then came the pandemic. Public pay phones, which provided free access to 911 and 311 non-emergency city services, were still used for regular calls and long-distance calls, but their usage had gone way down. Instead of pay phones, there are now thousands of wireless kiosks across the city, which will have 5G functionality added this summer.