New York City is reportedly planning to remove all of the last remaining public payphones from the city’s streets.
About 30 payphones will be removed from Hell’s Kitchen by the end of the month, according to ABC New York City station WABC, followed by an estimated 3,000 more across the city’s five boroughs in the coming months.
Before payphones, phone booths used to be ubiquitous around New York City but faded from popularity – and functionality – with the invention and use of the smartphone.
There are currently only four phone booths left in New York City, according to the New York Times – all of them on the Upper West Side. The last remaining booths can all be found on West End Avenue at 66th Street, 90th Street, 100th Street and 101st Street.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson spoke to Gothamist about the plans to remove payphones around the city on Feb. 28.
“My office has received numerous community complaints from local residents about these antiquated pay phones, which present public safety and quality of life issues,” Johnson said. “Additionally, they take up sorely needed sidewalk space that could better serve people with disabilities, families with strollers and ease sidewalk congestion.”
Some of the payphones will be replaced with Link NYC internet kiosks which provide free internet and phone calls to the public.