End of an era, New York disconnects its last telephone kiosk

The end of an era: New York City unplugged its last coin-operated telephone kiosk on Monday, the famous “payphone booth”, replaced for a few years by free WiFi terminals.

But let Superman fans be reassured: Manhattan will keep four telephone booths closed, those in which journalist Clark Kent turns into a superhero.

On Monday morning, New York put an end to a myth popularized in popular culture over decades of comics, photography, film and television.

In front of the press, the municipal authorities and the president (the equivalent of the mayor) of the borough of Manhattan Mark Levine had the last “booth” housing two telephones dismantled and placed on a truck, which was enthroned at the corner of the 7e Avenue and 50e Street in the center of New York Island marked with the blue bell logo of the telecommunications company Bell System.

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“I was there today for a final goodbye to the famous – or infamous? – NYC payphone. I will not miss the lack of dial tone, but I must admit that I had a pinch in the heart of nostalgia to see him go,” wrote Mark Levine on Twitter.

The elected Democrat said he does not really regret the days when these phones worked half the time, when you had to dig into your pockets to find a one-piece coin. quarter (25 cents) or line up to call in the middle of the street in full view of passers-by.

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Wired payphones began disappearing from the streets of New York in the early 2000s as cell phones appeared, and then in the 2010s with the explosion of smart phones.

Beginning in 2015, Manhattan accelerated the installation of thousands of LinkNYC hotspots offering WiFi and free local calls. These new kiosks should gradually be connected to the 5G network.

“It’s really the end of an era, but also, we hope, the beginning of a new era with more equal access to technology,” boasted Mr. Levine, referring to the northern neighborhoods of Manhattan, Harlem in particular, less well covered by telephone and internet networks.

According to the local press, Manhattan will keep four old-fashioned phone booths (with or without hinged doors) on the more upscale Upper West Side, on West End Avenue at 66e90e100e et 101e Streets.

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