Pay phones. I bet there is a good percentage of people who have no idea what a public pay phone is. And why should they? You don’t see them around anymore because everybody has access to a phone. It was a big deal a few months ago when New York City removed the last remaining pay phone. But sometimes, in a small charming Hudson Valley town, you may see a pay phone. 

I saw a pay phone just the other day in the village of Rhinebeck. I go to Rhinebeck at least twice a month. How could I have not noticed it before? Not only is it a pay phone, but it’s also a working pay phone. I actually picked up the receiver and got a dial tone. It felt so weird to hold an old phone receiver, but so familiar. I’ve used many pay phones in my day.

If you grew up with cell phones, you have no idea how important pay phones were. If you were running late, if your car broke down, if you told your parents you’d be home by midnight and it was 1 AM… all required the search for a pay phone. And we all carried dimes, then quarters around because you really have to pay to use a pay phone. The times sure have changed since then.

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I have no idea if anyone actually uses the pay phone in Rhinebeck. It’s right on the sidewalk on Route 9, across from Beekman Arms. But I do know that for some reason, the fact that Rhinebeck chose to keep a public pay phone makes me like this village even more. Great local shops and restaurants and even a pay phone.

Sharyn Faranda
Sharyn Faranda

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