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Where New York's Old Telephone Booths Go to Die

A photographer stumbles on a payphone 'graveyard' in West Harlem.

New York-based photographer Dave Bledsoe always carries his camera around just in case he happens upon a discovery like this.

On a recent walk, Bledsoe uncovered a graveyard of old pay phones underneath the elevated railroad tracks near 135th St. and 12th Ave. There were about 100 phones in "various states of decay" behind a chain link fence, he says.

Bledsoe posted his photos on his Flickr account, and noticed a particularly large volume of attention.

"I think these photos have struck such a chord with people because of the affinity for analog technology which is very popular right now," he says. "Seeing these phones piled up like this makes people think of the lost connections and the missing sense of place and permanence they bring." 

According to New York City's information technology and telecommunications department, there are still 10,524 active public pay telephones on or over the city's sidewalks as of last month. 5,429 are in Manhattan.

All images courtesy Dave Bledsoe.

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