Once ubiquitous in bustling metropolises like New York City, payphones have been cast aside as relics of a tethered time. In the rare instances that we walk past one, we don’t even bat an eye. We barely look up from the sleeker, shinier devices that made them obsolete.
And, well, payphones have something to say about that. “You don’t want to use us anymore? Fine. But do you even see us anymore?”
That comes from “Dead Ringer,” a four-minute film by directors Alex Kliment, Dana O’Keefe, and Michael Tucker that premiered earlier this month at the Tribeca Film Festival and was featured online Tuesday by the New Yorker. Against the backdrop of a somber, jazzy tune, one of New York City’s four remaining phone booths narrates its disdain for how invisible payphones have become, despite everything they’ve done for society.
When my brother works in New York for the publisher Macmillan he’s based in the Flatiron Building. I can’t say I’m not a little jealous. It’s an iconic landmark in city full of them, and has some brilliant quirks. From the New York Times:
On the 20th floor, windows are placed much higher up, the bottoms nearly at chest height. “I have an incredible view,” said Charles Bozian, Macmillan’s vice president for finance and administration. “But not unless I stand up.”
The small bathrooms alternate by floor, men on even, women on odd. “And the bathrooms are not very nice, either,” said Alison Lazarus, the president of Macmillan’s sales division. When important guests visit, she has them use the spacious bathroom on the 18th floor, by far the building’s best, offering a view all the way to New Jersey.
Because the building is narrow, it is flooded with light. Most employees have windows — big windows, which is a plus for the most part.
John J. Murphy III, director of publicity for St. Martin’s, remembers when he bought new glasses and then came into work. “I was sitting at my desk, and everyone kept coming in and looking at me oddly,” Mr. Murphy said. He then realized that because of all the light in the building, his tinted lenses never turned clear. “I looked like some Greek shipping magnate or shady drug dealer sitting here at my desk,” he said.