I was reading headlines online earlier this evening when an interesting one came across my screen. “Last public payphone removed in NYC today” That’s not to say it will be the last payphone in the entire city, there are many that exist in private businesses and some homes, and there are at least 2 or 3 full length payphone booths that still are available.
Doing a little digging on the ‘Net, apparently as of 2020 there were still at least 100,000 usable payphones in the entire United States, but increasingly they’re being removed, as people using cellphones are supplanting the need for coin operated phones. Certainly using an operator to place a call has gone the way of the dodo, and the very concept of a ‘trunk’ call, or ‘station to station’ is unheard of. Just like the bygone days when one could make a phone call for 10 cents (I was in college when the cost increased to a quarter dollar), putting in scads of coins to make a phone call has quickly become a thing of the past.
Though I do remember being in school and needing a ride home. Instead of using the time honored tradition of making a collect call, and when the automated voice asked for the name; using something like “pleasecomegetmepracticeisover” we used the system of pressing the number 6 twice to indicate that someone needed a ride home. That way we saved a dime, and whichever parent was free was able to drive to the school to come get either myself or my brother.
Anyway, it seemed interesting to me, so I thought I’d write about it. Off to bed here, it’s been a long day.