Wooden phone booths hiding on 57th Street

The Art Students League has been offering art classes and exhibits in a landmark building on West 57th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue since 1892.

Of course, these twin phone booths just inside the entrance probably aren’t quite that old.

But the details—wooden stools, glass doors, and fan switches (hey, it probably got hot quickly in a wooden booth, especially if you were having a tempestuous argument with the door shut tight)—have got to be midcentury.

The phones themselves? Hmm, maybe 1990? The phone books to the left look pretty ancient as well.

More charming relics from the pre-cell phone era can be found here.

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10 Responses to “Wooden phone booths hiding on 57th Street”

  1. nycedges Says:

    I have one mildly amusing story about an old wooden phone booth…a few years ago while visiting San Diego we hit a big dance club one night. After a few hours in the club I headed to the back bar to escape the noise & crowds, while waiting for my drink I noticed the old phone booth in the corner. Before I could investigate further a woman went into the booth, a few minutes later two more people went in, and then another…was this some new version of the stuffing a phone booth stunt? When I pulled back the door, the light went on but nobody was in there! then noticed the back wall of the booth was hinged…a little push and voila! the hidden smoking lounge with it’s own bar, music and massive air filtration system…a modern day speakeasy

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    That reminds me of an East Village hot dog place–Crif Dogs, is it still there?–that had the same kind of phone booth with a door on the other side leading to a separate room. I’m pretty sure I’m not imagining this.

  3. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    There were large phone booths downstairs of the Pix movie theater on 42nd St off Broadway. Two men would be in them, one with his back covering the door while the other would be down on his knees. A passerby would only see the standing man. It was a quick blowjob then back upstairs to see the rest of the movie.

  4. T.J. Connick Says:

    The booths – save for some minor modifications like the ones you’ve described – could date from much earlier than mid-century.

    While you’re in the neighborhood, find a full bank of wooden phone booths in the lobby of the New York Athletic Club, near the 58th Street entrance. It’s not the only part of the past being dragged along at NYAC.

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