Goodbye New York Pay Phones! This Iconic Communication Tool Is Disappearing! “The King Of Comedy” Shows Them Off!

Farewell To A Iconic Communication Tool!

Yes, you won’t have pay phones to kick around New York City any longer…

For a generation, these pay phones were everywhere – all across the country, but certainly on every corner in The Big Apple – offering locals and tourists alike a way to make a quick call – but, in this day and age, they have outlived their usefulness!

As Gothamist reports:

“in the age of smartphones, locals have been griping about the remaining open-air phones lining the city’s thoroughfares, complaining that the phones aren’t well maintained and pose safety issues. “Additionally, they take up sorely needed sidewalk space that could better serve people with disabilities [and] families with strollers and ease sidewalk congestion,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson says.”

The “pay phone” will soon be a memory of a different age, and phone booths are also being dismantled. Over the next year, these will all be torn out, with a variety of wi-fi kiosks scattered about instead.

However, some good news for nostalgia junkies: there are still four phone booths that will stay put, all on the city’s Upper West Side – so grab a picture in one while you can!

If you haven’t ever seen or tried to use one of New York’s iconic pay phones, here are what they looked like in New York’s Times Square.

A Classic Pay Phone Movie Moment!

In the terrific 1982 Martin Scorsese film “The King Of Comedy”, Robert DeNiro plays Rupert Pupkin, a struggling Comedian who is waiting for a call that never comes. Here’s the clip, shot in Times Square – note all of the classic businesses in the background:

And here is an iconic scene from the film as well, as Jerry Lewis, playing late night Talk Show King Jerry Langford, is walking down a New York street and a woman on a pay phone sees him – here is that moment:

That chilling shriek was the entire point of the film: how we demand so much from our “Stars”, so much so that we twist reality and fantasy to a point where the two tragically collide.

A terrific blu-ray release goes deep into “The King Of Comedy”, which is a masterpiece.

Check out the remastered blu ray and all the extras here:

If you’ve never been to New York, there is so much to discover:

It is one of the most incredible cities in the world, so I decided to walk 196 blocks of it – see them all here:

If you like these stories, why not sign up to receive emails whenever I post? It’s easy to do, I do NOT collect any information about you at all, there are absolutely NO ads of any kind, just stories about movies, music, books, food, travel and pop culture…

You can sign up by clicking on my blog here and see the note on the right!

Sign up for a daily hit of social media, and let me know if you’ve done a mega-NYC walk yourself!

Categories: Art, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Director Martin Scorsese, Exotic Travel, Great Films, New York, Pop Culture, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. Great post, John. It is sad to see an icon disappear.


  2. I’m sad to see this, another nail in the coffin, hammered in by ‘progress’. If something knocks out the cell masts, everyone will be screaming to have them back!
    (I LOVE that film, as you know. It is underrated, and often misunderstood)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a bit of a loss of history, John. It would be like taking away the London red post boxes. I’m glad to know they are preserving four of these pay phones.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is a pity John as one doesn’t always have a mobile – especially in a country that is not your home.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Public payphones are declining in the UK, John as they become little used or vandalised they are removed…A sign of the times 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Carpe Diem Eire

Travel Through Ireland and Europe


Life in a flash - a weekly writing blog

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Geeking Out about It

BlerdWatching Waaay Too Much TV

Shock, Schlock & Leftover Film Stock

A bloody valentine to exploitation films, cult film classics, direct to video dreck and other dirty, disreputable corners of cinema history


Tea, Tours and Escapades

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter

Drift among the scribbles of writer Janet Gogerty


This page is dedicated to all things of the past, movies, television, books, etc collected under one page if possible.

Robbie Cheadle

Books | Poems | Reviews

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

Darlene Foster's Blog

dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

Urban Suburban Girl

(adj.) cul – de – sac couture

You can always start now

exploring possibilities

Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

You can take the girl out of Glasgow. Entertainment Reviews from a Wee Scottish Wife and Stepmum living in Finland.

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

The Planking Traveler

planks or it didn't happen

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, essays, and more!

Binging on a Budget

"Help Me, I'm Poor."

Sunshine with Savannah

Writer aiming to cultivate kindness. | Exploring, learning, scribbling, finding sunshine wherever I go.

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

Colline's Blog

a potpourri of thoughts and experiences

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews & ABC Film Challenge

Cindy Bruchman

Films. Travel. Photography. Books. Let's talk.

Invisibly Me

Live A Visible Life Whatever Your Health


The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt

Cult Of The Cinema

Exploring Cinematic Diversity

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Suzie Speaks

The Adventures Of a Thirty-Something Life

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

The BookWorm Drinketh

Give Tea to the Tillerman, But Booze to the Bookworm!

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Adventures and Misadventures in Boulder, Colorado

a mindful traveler

explore, live, love...

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

By Hook Or By Book

Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

Admit One Film Addict

Psychotronic Cinema

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists

%d bloggers like this: