With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hartford Pay Phone #30

Occasionally we return to last summers and a classic Sad City project, the charting of Hartford's remaining pay phones. This project came about when we realized that Hartford had been home to the first pay phone in the United States. While it would have been easy to write an essay lamenting the rise and fall of both Hartford and the pay phone over the last century, we thought that to be a little too obvious and instead decided to go about tracking down all over Hartford's still working pay phones.

While we have moved on from charting phones on a weekly basis since last summer, we still occasionally add another to our tally. When we saw this phone, #30, on Albany Ave, we knew it would be one to get added. Just look at the picture. It screams urban grittiness. The gum on the sidewalk. The beat up entrance. The flyers in the window. The caged air conditioning unit. The cheap banner sign for the Urban Design store inside. You can almost smell that odor that an urban area gives off in the heat in this picture. We love it.

Bonus points for anyone who can answer this question. What is the metal strip that runs across the number pad seen below in this phone and many other Hartford phones?

If you have any working Hartford pay phones you would like to submit, send them here.


  1. The pay phone outside of Sam's at Broad and New Britian is a great one. A friend's car broke down there a while ago and while we waited for the tow truck, we found out the phones dont actually work. Which is great because people pretend to use them constantly.

  2. Another thought (while drinking too much)

    What about mailboxes?

    Do they still exist?

    I know I Haven’t used one in years.

    Do they still exist?

  3. The payphone at Sam's actually do work... I use it all the time...

  4. What's the material remove that will works throughout the number mat witnessed down below with this mobile phone and lots of other Hartford mobile phones?
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