The pay-phone revolution

Mayor Bloomberg called upon techies, designers and other creative minds to revamp the city's grody public telephones. But does it even matter?

Photo via nycmayorsoffice on Flickr

We've all been there: You're waiting for the subway or walking down the street and you notice that enormous, filthy, probably germ-ridden thing that makes you recoil in horror—a public telephone. (What did you think we were going to say?)

Apparently there are enough people in this city who still use pay phones (the ones that don't have the receiver hacked off, anyway) that Mayor Bloomberg and his chief digital officer, Rachel Haot, held a competition asking designers, techies and urban planners to dream up a new phone booth for NYC. From 125 submissions, city officials picked 11 semifinalists, who built samples of their ideas. The contest is now down to six finalists, who have incorporated everything from Wi-Fi hotspots to public art. You can vote for your favorite on Facebook.

Which one do you think deserves to win? Or do you think phone booths are just obsolete? Let us know in the comments.