The last payphone in New York City was removed yesterday. It was near the corner of 7th Avenue and 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan. There’s footage of a crane loading it onto a flatbed truck. A small ceremony was held down the street near Times Square. People are calling it the end of an era. (Here’s the video.)
The latest stats we’ve seen say that as of 2018, there were still around 100,000 payphones in the U.S. . . . down from two million in 1999. And around 20% of them were in New York.
New York started removing them in 2015, because cell phones have made them obsolete. They’ve replaced some of them with free Wi-Fi kiosks where you can charge your devices and make FREE phone calls to anywhere in the U.S. The kiosks also have a dedicated button you can push to call 911. So other than nostalgia, there just wasn’t a reason to keep the old payphones around.