On Wednesday, I went up to the Bronx, to an area which, on one map at least, would have been called Laconia. I had intended to walk from there to Co-Op City but it was cold and I just didn’t feel the joy. The 5 train from 59th Street took over an hour to get to Gun Hill Road, quite a bit longer than I had in mind. There was a payphone there, on Eastchester Drive and Adee, a phone that has probably been on that spot since the 1990s. The coin box is decimated, it is spray-painted with black paint, it bears the website URL of a MAGA/Trumpster. The phone had been owned by J&N Commuication, a PSP I’d never heard of but which, I now know, was owned by an elderly dude named Joe who passed away years ago. The phone is old enough that it says to call 211 for repairs. It looked bad but I’ve seen worse.
Uninspred by that bit of payphone detritus, I ambled about the area, too tired and groggy to find much inspiration. I saw Co-Op City in the distance, but with the clouds and threat of rain, it seemed like a journey too far. I returned to the 5 train and got back to Manhattan far quicker than the hour+ it took to get there. I checked on a few old friends at Grand Central Terminal and at Penn Station, but did not make it up to Rockefeller Center, which at this moment houses the only fully-functional publicly-accessible pay telephone in Manhattan. I guess I should qualify it as semi-accessible, since I do believe the Concourse does close to the public during the overnight. Wait, can that be true? I don’t know. The subway station nearby suggests that at least the passageways surrounding it are open overnight. But I would think most of the concourse and its overpriced restaurants are closed overnight. So maybe the phone is fully public, is what I’m saying. If it is accessible 24/7 without any expectation of payment to access it, that makes it public.
Today I expect to meet up with a friend from the phreak realm. We will meet at a particular payphone, of course, and maybe cobble together a tour of the area’s payphone population. None of the phones work, but with my fresh batch of Payphone Radio cards I can deliver the advertising that this world needs to be made aware of that magnificent sound world. Those cards, however blithe I might sound about them, have been surprisingly effective. I placed them on LinkNYC machines in Midtown, and remember seeing calls come in from LinkNYC machines during the dead of night. Phone calls on the Links are a horrible experience, and given the general timbre of things on that radio I doubt anyone who dialed in heard anything intelligible come through that loudspeaker, however loud they may have jacked up the volume. But at least people connected and maybe tried again from their own phones.
I ordered a couple of new WYZE cameras. I can now have two live streams of the same street from two different directions. My plan to fill the coffers of archive.org with concatenated videos of 24-hour length has basically been scuttled. Archive started throttling upload speeds, making the project untenable. It would literally take 24 hours to upload a 24-hour video file to archive.org, while other sites’ upload speeds are perfectly fine. Further to the upload speed throttling there is also the matter of videos not starting when they are clicked upon. It can take several minutes and several clicks before these 24-hour videos start to play. That further makes archive.org an untenable host for this project. I’ll consider hosting those videos myself when I get a new server, which it seems I have to do anyway. My current box is something like 10 years old. Age shouldn’t matter but to sustain this server into the future requires upgrades I don’t even understand. I also want out of OVH. I’ve never fully trusted them, though at this moment I can’t remember what my initial suspicions were.
I may start posting to the Payphone Project site again. I was shamed out of it when advertising peeps dismissed the site as “poor quality” or “low quality” or however they put it. They gave little indication of exactly what could be done to remedy that situation, and even if they had I would likely have eschewed their demands. So no more ads on the content part of the site. I’ll keep ads on the old stuff just for old times sake but that’ll be it. TO think I used to make a pretty decent living off those ads. Not anymore.