Phone booth Photo: Jim Pennucci/Flickr 

When it comes to the New York’s many disused phone booths, it’s usually best to avoid eye contact. There are 11,000 payphones in the city today — down from a high of 35,000 in the 90s — and to call some of them eyesores might be putting it too kindly.

Rather than discarding them, other cities have come up with some creative ideas on how to repurpose their own phone booths. We explored five options below:

Tiny art gallery

Phone Booth Photo: Gallery on the Green

Gallery on the Green in the English town of Settle calls itself “possibly the smallest (gallery) in the world.” With a rotating collection, Gallery on the Green boasts that it is filled to capacity twice daily.

Neighborhood bar extension

Concert Photo: elPadawan/Flickr 

This Prague phone booth is located within a concert venue, but couldn’t you imagine an East Village pub doing wonders with one of these?

Solar-powered charging stations

Solarbox Photo: Solarbox London 

London-based solarbox launched its first free solar-powered charging station in October 2014, and now it’s hard at work converting thousands more phone booths for public use. Take note, New York!

City-wide wi-fi

Wifi-compressed Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Flickr

A number of companies are already working towards repurposing NYC’s phone booths as wi-fi hubs. In Google’s plans, users will get service through one-time payments, subscription service, or by using ad-supported browsing. LinkNYC will already have converted 500 booths by the end of 2015 with plans for 6,400 more in the coming years.

Mini community library

Library Photo: Luis Caldas de Oliveira/Flickr 

This iconic London phone booth has been converted into a darling self-contained library. Visitors may simply take a book or leave a book.

Developments featured in this article

More Like This

Facebook Chatter