I’ve walked by this phone booth hundreds of times over the years, but this may have been the first time I ever stepped inside. A few blocks away from me, it always gave me the creeps, reeking as it did of unsavory use especially a few decades back when there was a lot more street crime in the neighborhood. No doubt having been the victim of serious crime myself I’m prejudiced, but I’ve never felt the slightest bit of nostalgia for this particular piece of street furniture.
But that is just me. On a larger scale this is one of the few remaining phone booths of yore, the kind Clark Kent used to change into Superman, and so of value to many. Say Alan Flacks a familiar neighborhood gadfly who fought to keep this one in place and in working order. Remembering Alan’s efforts I was intrigued to see that it inspired a picture book, Peter Ackerman’s and Max Dalton’s The Lonely Phone Booth. And, to their credit, they’ve made the booth something greater than its current reality. In Ackerman’s sweet story it is a heroic little phone booth in the tradition of other obsolete things, say that one uptown celebrated in The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. The illustrations by Max Dalton are delightful. A quirky and charming work of retro nostalgia that would appeal to lap reading I’m thinking.