East Village Pay Phone Watch: Imitation of Mortality

I have had public pay phones on my mind a great lately.

This is undoubtedly due to the fact that after experiencing a drought of phones of note I have encountered a fair number of them recently. But I will go into more detail about this momentarily.

Still I have been wondering  to myself:

Why the fascination?

Well, for starters it has been my observation that these public facilities are often facilitators for what most would consider private activities. I have seen men masturbate in these on occasion and, as the item at right (which hails from Queensboro Plaza) attests, they can be and are pressed into service as lavatories. Mind you, I do not pass judgement on this variety of re-purposing. Being a disciple of depravity to do so strikes me as being hypocritical.

The previous having been established, if I had to cite one such phone as being the inspiration for my fixation it is the one at left: the Norman Avenue Monologue Machine. Sadly, it is no longer with us. (However I am pleased to note that the owners of the bodega it once graced noted a great many people came to pay it homage.). Nonetheless, Monologue Machines are endemic in our city. I have spotted (and documented them) in a number of places (which can be seen here). What fascinates me about them? Very simple: the anger which has been directed at them. Anger undoubtedly fomented by the person on the other end.

In this respect I found the East Village Pay Phone of Death an interesting (and gruesome) change of pace. So much so I felt compelled to revisit it. This week I did.

As you can see this communication device has not only gotten a thorough cleaning, but is in working order. Whether or not the person whose blood graced it in the first place is in a similar such state is anyone’s guess.

On that note, I encountered a pay phone on First Avenue whose resemblance to this dubious item is rather stunning. At least enough so to merit a mention on this site.

The similarities are rather striking (pun completely intended).

Here’s a side-by-side comparison from the top.

Spatter to the right was also noted.

Upon closer examination I ascertained the red matter gracing the First Avenue phone is paint, not blood. This begs a number of questions. I’ll keep it to two:

  1. What exactly happened here?
  2. If this an attempt to impart old-school, gritty flavor to a public phone in an increasingly affluent neighborhood without the usual inconveniences (READ: violence)?

I’ll leave it to you, gentle readers, to make the call.

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