A Review Of Public Pay Phones

The previous content undoubtedly makes it clear that today I whiled away my time outside the Garden Spot. We have a friend visiting from out of town so we’re pulling out all the stops. Or more accurately: we’re stopping constantly. So as to feed my public pay phone fixation. The way I see it, these fixtures— or more accurately: what is to be found in them— are a reflection of the communities into which they are placed. These “urban artifacts”, however revolting they may be— and they frequently are— tickle my inner anthropologist’s fancy. Without further ado, here we go!

Sixth Avenue & 28 Street, Chelsea

6aveand28street

This is located around the corner from Jeff Boss’s manifold number of missives (which I featured previously). There is a lot going on here, so let’s go in for a closer look!

yellowpants

One pair of neon yellow pants.

Soiled

Soiled.

petals

Rose petals grace the concrete.

roses

Which brings me to the right-hand stall. We have what once was a bouquet and this.

You are an asshole

No argument here. Upon closer inspection I discerned that both “stalls” bore this missive.

980 Sixth Avenue, “Fashion District”

980sixthave

This one is gold— in ways I could not begin to fathom.

enemyinplainsight

Initially, I thought the above-depicted flyer was related to this incitement. Nope.

PORNSTARSWELCOME

I have taken the liberty of highlighting my favorite passages.

notakers

I suppose it is not surprising he has not gotten any “takers”. Has not this fellow ever heard of Craigslist? It would save him a lot of money on fliers (which, in turn could be used to pay for entertaining). So it goes…

LADIES

Here’s what I found placed deftly atop of the receiver. NEEEXT!

40th Street, Bryant Park

spoonphone

Not much to see here save a misshapen spoon. Now let’s proceed to the Upper East Side…

Second Avenue & East 68 Street

pissphone

Public pay phones in New York City are often pressed into service as privies. This is hardly news. However, the elegance of what happened here is truly noteworthy. So much so I outlined it to my travelling companions like the tour guide I most assuredly am.

  1. This individual— a man— despite probably being in an inebriated state utilized the features of this phone in a rather clever way. He first placed the cup between the rails. 
  2. He peed into the cup. That will make it easier for whoever is charged with removing it.

whoops

For the most part. Still this gets an “E” for effort. Closing on a poignant  note…

59th Street & Third Avenue, “Midtown”

elizabethgardner

You can learn what Elizabeth Gardner did by clicking here. She was a lot more than a pretty face…

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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