Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Endangered Phone Booth

Fellow readers, I have some very sad news to report. The phone booth along the Ausable is on the endangered list and may soon become extinct. Yes, that's right the phone booth, a four walled little building meant for you to have private phone conversations in. Or maybe if you are a teenager, to make prank phone calls from.

There are still a few cellular holdouts left in this world and what would they do without the phone booth that shelters them from the Adirondack weather? I have to admit that I am one of those people that only has a cell phone, no land line. What would happen if my cell phone went dead or we were without electricity for several days and couldn't charge my phone? I fear that some day soon I will be without having the option to use the phone booth and will have to buy a phone charger for my car. I realize that this is not just a regional phenomenon, but something that threatens many areas. For instance, Manhattan has just four phone booths left.

For this to also happen in our neck of the woods saddens me to no extent. Yes, there are pay phones to use, but the phone booth is a symbol of simpler times and I would hate for this to disappear.

Jay still has a phone booth on the Village Green. This is a beautiful telephone booth that still has the accordion door and I think that back in the day, when you closed it, the light above would turn on. Surprisingly, it lacks graffiti and the only noticeable wear was a rusty hole on the outside.


It was here that I tried using the phone inside and discovered that it was completely dead.


My phone booth quest continued in Keene Valley where there is a phone booth next to their grocery store and public parking lot. This one is lacking a door to close and I wonder if it may have been broken from a car backing into it because I noticed that there are yellow cement posts protecting it.


Keene Valley is one of the towns in our area where there is little to no cell service and many hikers rely on this phone booth at the end of their journey. I thought I'd give the phone a try inside and it looked more promising than the one in Jay. Definitely more modern with calling card instructions and how to charge a call to your credit card.


Unfortunately, there was no dial tone. I could tell that the phone wasn't dead, because there was a little bit of static on the other end, but I was unable to reach an operator. I reported this inside to the Keene Valley Grocery so it could get fixed before hiking season kicks in.

I cruised through Lake Placid and saw a few pay phones, but no phone booths. I remembered seeing a phone booth in Ausable Forks, but couldn't find it. Of course, I used my cell phone and called my friend to help me locate it and were informed that it had recently been removed! Our friend that had lived a few houses away from the phone booth had no answers, just that it was gone. She knew that my heart sank and the next day sent me a text message to my cell phone of a phone booth in Keeseville.

After spending the afternoon tracking down phone booths and becoming disheartened with the results, I have decided not to restrict my search to just our area. There is a gem of a phone booth in Ray Brook between the Ford dealership and the campground. That one is a must see!

As a graduate student in England, the phone booth became my second home to call family and friends when I needed privacy from flat mates and I don't know what I would have done without it. So, it is here readers that I am professing my love for the phone booth and will now attempt to save one phone booth at a time!


8 comments:

April said...

Nooooo.... I love that phone booth (obviously I've never used it, but it's such an iconic symbol of yesterdays). What about E'town? There used to be one across from the school. Is that one gone now too? I can't remember, but my gut says yes. So sad.

Martha said...

When I was a college student in England we had a pay phone in our house! No booth though, it was just tucked under the stairs!

Anonymous said...

Brings a tear to the eye!

diane said...

There are 2 pay phones at the entrance of Fish Creek Campground. I found them because I was there walking my dogs in late November with out my cell phone. My car broke down, (blown headgasket!) and it was getting dark and cold. I had no money with me either, but the operator called my husband and he had to pay for the call with a credit card.

paul said...

Happened upon this blog and knew it had to be you...
Nice post.

Mars said...

Actually, today I don't using mobile phone. Then, if I would like to have a call I've really looking for the telephone booth... That's why the telephone is really important to me...

Anonymous said...

The Keene Valley phone booth is missing the phone now...

chase said...

What's the status of these endangered phone booths? I'm producing a historical television serious on the disappearance of the phone booth in America? The production company is Left/Right Inc. (www.leftright.tv) Can anyone provide more info on the "endangered phone booths along the Ausable today and what the resistance is? Please email me any and all info at TelephoneTVShow@gmail.com - Thanks!