Call it the biggest fake news story of 2022.
For the past several days, there has been a media frenzy that the last public payphone in New York City was removed in Times Square, bringing with it an end of an era.
But the viral news wasn’t quite accurate and in fact, quite misleading.
Although a rarity in New York City over the past decade, public payphones are still, in fact, alive and well throughout New York City as evidenced by Alex Lambertus who snapped a photo of a public payphone in Co-op City, The Bronx.
The frenzy of misleading and false information was spread when the New York City office of Technology and Innovation tweeted out that they had just removed the last free-standing public payphones from Times Square which Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine also tweeted about.
Instead of some basic fact checking, the media sadly ran with the story burying lede in the process by not immediately stating that it was the LAST city-owned public payphone.
Reports also streamed from across the city listing locations like Manhattan’s Upper West Side and even Union Square.
Even Snopes, the fact-checking website chimed in by reporting: ” In sum, no, the last pay phones in New York City weren’t removed. Evidence suggested that there were still pay phones available throughout the city, both public and private. For these reasons, we rated the claim that the last pay phone had been removed from New York City on May 23, 2022, as “False.”
So whatever you have read, don’t believe the hype: Public payphones are alive and well in The Bronx and across New York City and its era has yet to end.