This Bayard Street Payphone is no Longer Crowned with a Pagoda

Posted on: September 8th, 2016 at 9:30 am by

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Payphone with a pagoda, April 2014

We hoped this day wouldn’t come to pass, but alas, it’s here.

Until recently, this public payphone on Bayard Street (just east of Elizabeth) was topped with a decorative pagoda. One of the only such instances in Chinatown. Not anymore; the extra bit of culture is gone.

A Boogie reader tells us that the style was added in the late 1970s after the full booths were discontinued. The Buddhist-inspired pagoda was reportedly tiered to signify the layered ascent to heaven.

Public payphones in New York City are nearly extinct, functioning more as billboards than anything else. Their number was finally called. The technology and infrastructure is being phased out in favor of those towering LinkNYC kiosks. The street furniture – standing 9-foot-6-inches – comes equipped with “the fastest public” free Wi-Fi signal, free domestic phone capability, two USB charging ports, and annoying digital displays. Customers can also use the touchscreen (aka Link tablet) to look up directions and find out about other city services.

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The twin phones were previously owned by Verizon, but now under the auspices of Titan360. And big shocker, the phones actually still work.

The phone numbers, in case you’re curious, are (212) 962-8203 and (212) 577-9768. Time for some Jerky Boys action…

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