Monday , December 5 2022
I stood there staring at it for a few moments, not only appreciating its battered beauty, but also realizing that it is one of the last of its kind.

One of the Last New York City Phone Booths

It is hard enough to find a pay phone these days in New York City, much less an actual phone booth. When I was a kid these iconic glass-and-steel structures were all over the streets and a symbol of this town, much like their bigger British red cousins found on the streets of London.

The New York City booth came complete with a folding door and a convenient metal shelf where one could write notes, place a package, or just lean an elbow. These booths not only provided a place to make a private call in public, they also seemed to be something of a respite from the maddening crowd rushing by.

The advent of the cellular phone has seriously diminished the presence of pay phones on the streets of New York, but the phone booths started disappearing well before we all had our individual communication devices in our pockets. That is why I was happily surprised to come across an actual, old-fashioned phone booth the other day in the borough of Queens.

Located in the comfort station at Alley Pond Park, the booth is missing its door. The ceiling fan was not functional (all the booths had a fan that was operated by a small switch located above the phone box), but the phone actually worked –which is not the case for many of the remaining pay phones in New York City. I stood there staring at it for a few moments, not only appreciating its battered beauty, but also realizing that it is one of the last of its kind.

Later on when I showed the booth to my daughter, she wondered “What the heck is that?” I wanted to explain the history of the thing, but instead I joked and said, “It’s where Superman used to change into his costume.” She looked at me like I must be crazy, and if I didn’t know better I’d say that she was right.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. His newest books 'The Stranger from the Sea' and 'Love in the Time of the Coronavirus' are available as e-books and in print. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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