It’s out with the old and in with the new in New York City, as the city removed its last pay phone on Monday.
The removal of the pay phone, which was located on 745 7th Avenue, signals the official end of what used to be one of the city’s most iconic street symbols. Public pay phones could be found throughout the city decades ago, but the rise of cell phones has made them obsolete.
With the use of public pay phones declining, officials began removing them from the city in 2015 after CityBridge was chosen by state officials to replace the payphone with LinkNYC, which offer free, high-speed Wi-Fi to those near its kiosks, as well as free phone calls and a charging station for mobile devices.
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Aside from the kiosks also serving as digital billboard for PSAs, art and other city services, LinkNYC says it has now grown into the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network, having facilitated over 3 billion Wi-Fi sessions to over 10 million subscribers. The kiosks will also soon provide 5G coverage to the city.
A map on its website shows there are 1,860 kiosks spread throughout the city.
“As a native New Yorker, saying goodbye to the last street pay phone is bittersweet because of the prominent place they’ve held in the city’s physical landscape for decades,” Matthew Fraser, Commissioner of the Office of Technology and Innovation, said in a news release. “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.”
While the final pay phone will no longer be in service, it won’t be forgotten. It will be installed at the Museum of the City of New York near the east side of Central Park in the exhibit “Analog City,” which will look back at the city before the rise of technology.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.