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.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hartford Pay Phone #32


This very urban pay phone marks the thirty-second phone tracked down in our long running Hartford Pay Phone mapping contest. Located in the North End at the corner of Guilford and Bethel, this pay phone could no doubt tell a good deal of stories.

Observers will note many Hartford urban area trademarks are present in this photo. The multi-family brick building in the background is common to the area and many, presumably built around the same time, can be found throughout the city in various stages of repair. The bodega is painted a blue color that looks like it was just slapped on to cover up whatever the previous color was. Finally there is the mysterious metal strip across the number pad that seems to exist only on urban phones and for which nobody seems to know the purpose of.





A closer view of Pay Phone #32 shows that someone has taken a good deal of time to whittle away at the "one" part of "phone." Seems to us like someone would have to be hanging around that pay phone for a pretty long time to do that. Wonder what would compel someone to hang around a pay phone for so long?


Pay Phone #32 did at one time have a companion pay phone, but no longer. It is interesting to note that while the pay phone wasn't replaced, the Comcast advertising wrapper was. It is also interesting to pose the question that as pay phones become more and more obsolete and many empty pay phone stands like this one stand around the city, whose responsibility is it to remove an abandoned pay phone stand? Is it city property or the phone company? If it is the phone company's property will they simply leave the stands to rot like so many absentee landlords with large real estate portfolios that let buildings sit empty around the city? Is the phone company compelled to remove these eyesores or would they rather just avoid the cost and instead use them as small advertising places to hawk the latest repackaging of their products?

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