NYC’s glass phone booths were once used by Superman to make lighting quick costume changes (see video 1) and Colin Farrell would be held prisoner in one in a film called ‘Phone Booth’ (see video 2).
There was indeed a time when not just Superman or Colin Farrell used them but all of NYC did and through those glass walls we could see people laughing, crying and shouting as they carried on semi-public conversations with the people on the other end of the phone. Remember waiting outside one tapping your foot as you waited for the person inside, on the phone, to get off it so it would be yours to use? Resumably only New Yorkers of a certain age would have those memories.
Now those original square glass NYC phones are all gone except for 4 which are all on West End Avenue at 101st, 100th, 90th and 66th Streets.
With everyone using cell phone, those old glass booths are only a matter of cultural interest, remembered in a nostalgic way by older New Yorkers and not noticed at all by millenials as they walk past busily texting their friends.
But they are a true reminder of an important slice of New York’s past and so the 4 remaining ones have been deliberately preserved so that modern day New Yorkers and secret Superman fans can remember the past.