Out of service: Last New York City payphone removed

NEW YORK — It’s the end of an era in New York City, as the last public payphone was removed from a city street Monday in a ceremony featuring several city officials.

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Monday’s removal marked the culmination of a process that began in 2015, according to a press release. New York City partnered with LinkNYC, which is working to phase in free Wi-Fi stands and charging stations to replace the payphones, WPIX reported.

“As a native New Yorker, saying goodbye to the last street payphone is bittersweet because of the prominent place they’ve held in the city’s physical landscape for decades,” Matthew Fraser, the city’s commissioner of the Office of Technology and Innovation said in a statement. “Just like we transitioned from the horse and buggy to the automobile and from the automobile to the airplane, the digital evolution has progressed from payphones to high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks to meet the demands of our rapidly changing daily communications needs.”

The final payphone, which sat at 745 7th Avenue, was taken to the Museum of the City of New York, where it will be displayed as part of an exhibit called “Analog City,” LinkNYC said in a press release.

A total of 6,000 phones were removed, and have been replaced with approximately 2,000 of the new kiosks, WABC reported. LinkNYC told the station that it is working to add thousands more to the city, “prioritizing equity areas with particular need.”

LinkNYC noted that there are still private payphones on public property that will remain standing, as will four permanent full-length Superman booths.