City to Install ‘Smart Screens’ in Some Public Phone Booths

It is an emblem from a bygone era: the outdoor pay phone. For more than a century, in booths along New York City’s sidewalks, public telephones have connected residents, one pocketful of change at a time. But next month, under a pilot program, some of the phones may be welcoming 21st-century neighbors. The city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications has approved the installation of as many as 250 “smart screens” in old telephone booths, allowing visitors to find transportation updates, city program information and details about local events, all free.