A few weeks, I found myself in the Borough Hall subway stop with a good seven minutes to spare when my eyes hit upon these stickers above the payphones. Now, subway payphones themselves are relics of another age when we had to carry around quarters and didn’t have easy access to a phone in our pockets. These days, the subway’s payphones are a dying breed. Those that remain barely function, and those that do work aren’t exactly paragons of cleanliness.
This sticker though offers us a glimpse into the past — many levels of the past in fact. There’s a New York Telephone logo with the reminder of NYNEX (and their catchy jingle); there’s Bell Atlantic peeking through; and there’s Verizon, the current carrier if the phone works at all. The sticker has survived many layers of anti-trust law as well as many decades in the subway. But there it is for anyone to see.