How crooks called their lawyers in the 1970s: Brooklyn police precinct pay phone is a holdover from the ‘Serpico’ era
This NYPD blue pay phone is all shades of awesome.
I spotted it from the sidewalk outside the 76th Precinct in Cobble
Hill, Brooklyn, and quickly ducked into the foyer to snap a quick
photo, successfully avoiding any scrutiny from the fuzz.
I knew I had to stop because I quickly surmised the phone was packing
a lot of history and adding some old-school cinematic grit to the
What’s most special about it is its futuristic blue
casing, which includes a cubbyhole for the phone book. This phone is
pure 1970s Bell System, and features the 1969 Saul Bass-designed Bell
symbol next to the word “Phone.”
The phone also preserves a throwback of the 1990s; note the presence
of the NYNEX logo on the top left. The rate cards are from the Verizon
era, but even that is vintage, as Verizon pulled out of the pay phone
Think about how long this phone had been there. It’s witnessed some of
New York scariest, crime-ridden days.
If only we could hear the conversations it has been privy to over the years. But this phone will take its secrets to the grave, and given the state of the pay phone
biz, that day is not too far off.
— Rolando Pujol