The Incredible Disappearing Phone Booth

By Bradley Blackburn

Mar 3, 2010 1:22pm

ABC's Bradley Blackburn reports from New York:


If Clark Kent lived in the real-life Metropolis of New York City today, he’d a have a tough time getting into his work clothes. 


 The Incredible Disappearing Phone BoothOnly four pay phone booths remain on Manhattan’s streets, all on the Upper West Side’s West End Avenue – one a couple of blocks west of ABC News headquarters on West 66th Street. 


Plenty of pay phones still dot street corners in the city, but the iconic glass booths have been on a long decline.  Why?  For decades, many of the phone booths served the purposes of criminals, not superheroes.


“If you think back to the 60’s and 70’s, phone booths were taken over by the bad guys in large part,” said Verizon spokesman John Bonomo.  “They were a place for bad guys to set up shop, take orders, and give orders.”


Bonomo says many neighborhoods asked for their phone booths to be taken out, and the phone company was more than happy to comply.  “They were expensive to maintain and keep clean,” he said.


The four booths that do remain are a special case.  Activists in the neighborhood have lobbied Verizon over the years to keep them in place, hoping to preserve the look of the neighborhood. 


Verizon says it’ll keep them on streets as long as they last, but if they’re hit by a car and accidentally destroyed, all bets are off.


So perhaps Superman better find a new changing room for the cell phone age.  How about Starbucks?

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