Old tech makes a comeback


It had to happen sooner or later. A new generation would turn to the old generation for communication when it counts.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the payphone is making a comeback in New York. Cellphone service is spotty, if it exists at all. And without electricity, many have been unable to keep their newfangled phones charged.

The local payphone, the Wall St. Journal reports, has been their salvation, at least for those who can figure out how they work.

“I lost a lot of coins,” one New Yorker said. Eventually, she figured it out.

“Phones that normally do two dollars a day are taking in $50 a day,” says Peter Izzo of Van Wagner Communications, one of 13 local pay-phone-operating franchises. “In times of distress, the people of the city love them.”

After the storm struck, people under umbrellas waited in line at some pay phones downtown Tuesday.

“During disasters, we sometimes have to empty them every day,” says Thomas Keane, chief executive officer of Pacific Telemanagement Services, a pay-phone operator whose New York locations include transit stations, hospitals and police offices. “It takes 300 to 400 calls a day for that to happen.”

In the rush to the wireless world, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to keep a few things wired.

(Image: Payphone by pamhule, on Flickr)

  • JSK

    We still keep a wired handset for our home telephone service. At least they still work when there’s power outage.

  • Bonnie

    this is great

    my wired phone even has a dial! works just fine, and works without power

    when I saw the headline I thought this post was going to be about LP’s and turntables