Montero Bar and Grill-Vintage Telephone Booth-Brooklyn Heights-NYC

With the imminent demise of New York City’s pay phones in 2014, it seems miraculous that the wooden phone booths of fifty or sixty years ago still survive in private spaces. We’ve rounded up seven of the last stragglers, most of which are tucked away in bars and restaurants throughout the city.

1. New York Public Library 

The New York Public Library’s semi-famous row of old phone booths in the basement

Located in the main branch, or Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in Midtown, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. The basement has a rather famous row of wooden phone booths, pictured above. Library employees have been known to use these booths for privacy––to make calls on their mobile phones.

2. The Yale Club

On the second floor of The Yale Club just outside its majestic neoclassical lounge is a row of vintage phone booths. One, shown above, still includes an old rotary phone. See more photos from the members only Yale Club here.

3. Park Slope Armory

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In the grand entrance of the Park Slope Armory, now part of the Park Slope Armory Women’s Shelter, there’s a vintage double phone booth. On the left side of the booth there’s a light (still working) that once illuminated the phone book. A visit to the Park Slope Armory, most go to use the facilities of the YMCA, warrants a stop at the hidden Veteran’s Museum inside as well.

4. McKittrick Hotel, 530 W. 27th Street

McKittrick Hotel-Vintage Phone Booths-Sleep No More-NYC

The McKittrick Hotel today is more famous for being the home of the interactive theater production Sleep No More, but it as part of the place’s lore, the organizers claim it was a real hotel under the same name dating from 1939. Insiders know that it’s a stunning staged feat, but the telephone booths are still a fun sight to see. The McKittrick Hotel also hosts other events, giving you other chances to check out the incredible space, such as Underground Eats’ Absurdity event.

5. Bamonte’s Restaurant 

Bamonte Restaurant-Williamsburg-Vintage Phone Booths-Brooklyn-NYCThe still-working phone booths of Bamonte’s Restaurant

Installed fifty years ago, these side-by-side booths worked as the house business phones––that is, if you called Bamonte’s, one of these very phones would ring. The proprietor told us they still work but Bell Telephones went out of business years ago, of course. According to reports, the right booth still works to take incoming calls. And in the left booth, you can––surprisingly––still call out. Located at 32 Withers Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

6. Peter McManus Café

Peter McManus Cafe-Chelsea-7th Avenue-19th Street-NYC-Vintage Telephone Booth-001Peter McManus Café’s twin booths

Located in Chelsea, Seventh Avenue and 19th Street. One of the oldest family-owned bars in New York––open since 1936––this “café” is actually a dive bar with a great jukebox and two charming wooden telephone booths.

7. Montero’s Bar & Grill

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Located in Brooklyn Heights, 73 Atlantic Avenue. This intimate dive bar at the end of Atlantic Avenue once welcomed grimy sailors in the 1940s, who used these telephone booths to make their personal calls. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same today––the booths are non-operational at this point––but it’s worth visiting for its film noir atmosphere alone.

8. Farrell’s

Vintage Phone Booth-NYC-Farrells-Prospect Park West-Windsor Terrace-NYC-2Farrell’s phone booth has stayed operational to this day.

This Brooklyn landmark of Irish drinking––and a site of controversy in the 70s, when Shirley MacLaine insisted on being the first unchaperoned woman in the bar––actually has a phone booth in working order. Go use it while you still can. Located at 215 Prospect Park West.

O’Connor’s in Park Slope also has vintage phone booths but has been closed for renovation. Elsewhere on the internet, Marchi’s Restaurant on east 31st Street in Manhattan is said to have vintage phone booths too, but they told us they were removed at least a decade ago.

Payphones in general––not just the booths––have a long, strange history in New York City. Read more about the payphone graveyard under the West End Highway, problematic payphones in Hell’s Kitchen, and the NYC Department of Information Technology’s collaboration with City24/7 to replace payphones with free touchscreens.

Additional reporting by @untappedmich.