Obit for a Fallen Call Box on Orchard Street
A vanishing breed, there aren’t many left on the Lower East Side. That of the decorative corner call box. And we’ve just lost another.
The majestic call box at the northeast corner of Orchard and Rivington Streets was felled over the weekend, and lay unattended for over twenty-four hours. Corner Grocers employees claim that a sanitation truck collided with the street furniture early Saturday morning, completely destroying it in the process. Those who passed gazed on the deceased with a frown. Yes, ’tis a mighty loss.
The city is probably happy at its demise, though. Indeed, officials have been trying to remove the technology from the streets for years, even more so after the advent of cell phones. Nearly obsolete, these ancient fire call boxes are costly to maintain and not used very often. Based on these trends, Bloomberg tried to eliminate the remaining 15,000 that dot the city landscape, but was denied by a federal judge in 2010; his predecessor (i.e. Giuliani) tried and met the same fate.
Advocates maintain that the call boxes are essential to deaf and hearing impaired, who otherwise don’t have a reliable source of reporting emergencies.