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
London calling! A British phone booth, complete with tweedy if creepy mannequin, is beached on Broadway in Tarrytown, N.Y. It’s actually been there for years. Now it’s about as useful as a traditional payphone, and is an equal source of curiosity. #payphoneography #tweed #mannequin #tarrytown #phonebooth #phones #britain #london #british
An antique shop in the Westchester County town of Pound Ridge got its hands on a beautiful old metal-and-glass phone booth, the walk-in variety that offered shelter from the elements and a measure of privacy to conduct your telephonic business. Oh, and if Clark Kent were spending his Saturday antiquing in Pound Ridge, he could pop into this booth real quick and morph into Superman.
This specimen is in pretty nice shape, and comes complete with the requisite phone directory holder. An extra is the sticker reminding you to call 911 in an emergency, a leftover from a time when the service was still a novelty.
However, it’s absent an actual pay phone. That’s not a big deterrent to purchase, I figure, but the asking price — $1,100 — could use some bargaining down.
Text and photos: Rolando Pujol
This fantastic vintage sticker survives outside an auto-repair shop in Tarrytown, N.Y. There’s a lot going on here for the “retrologically” inclined.
First, it harkens to the days when New York’s phone company was called NYNEX, which dates this to 1984-97. (NOTE: It was marketed as New York Telephone, a NYNEX company, from 1984 to 94, then just as NYNEX for three more years, but the Yellow Pages business was known as NYNEX during all those years.)
Second, it promotes the Yellow Pages! Who uses those anymore, even as booster seats?
Thirdly, it features the iconic “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking” logo.
And, my, that is one intense shade of yellow. (No filter needed.)
Text and photo: Rolando Pujol
#phones #phone #yellowpages #nynex #verizon #telephones #history #branding #tarrytown (Taken with Instagram)
Staubitz Market, serving Cobble Hill since 1917. The neon sign in the window displays the shop’s number in the old-school format: MAIN4-0014. That is still its number, though now we write 624-0014. #neon #vintage #retro #brooklyn #cobblehill #butcher #meat #retail #phones #telephones (Taken with Instagram)
Symbolism alert: A telephone building houses equipment for phone calls, but pulls the plug on its pay phone
This Verizon central office in Ridgewood, Queens, is one of those robust buildings the Bell System constructed back in the day to shelter its large, imposing switching equipment that made phone calls possible.
Verizon, the custodian in New York of the Bell legacy, has made an interesting point about the state of the landline business by making a certain modification to the facade of this building. They pulled out the pay phone, as you can see from its tell-tale shadow left on the wall.
Couldn’t it have stayed there — devoid of dial tone — for old time’s sake?
Text and photos: Rolando Pujol