Concerning the future of New York City’s pay phones, the voters have spoken — the Facebook voters, anyway — and they have chosen a design that looks kind of like a very tall smartphone.
The city announced on Friday afternoon that the entry known as NYFi was the popular choice in the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge. It beat the runner-up, NYC Loop, which from one angle looks kind of like an upended ivy-covered bathtub, by an undisclosed number of votes.
The NYFi kiosk was designed by Sage & Coombe Architects. According to the entry’s self-description,
“Unlike today’s payphone, the NYFi is an interactive portal to public information, goods, and services, a hub for free wireless internet access, and an open infrastructure for future applications. The NYFi features two interfaces and a simple touch activates the height sensitive interactive zone on either face.”
The design contest, and the vote, were intended by the Bloomberg administration to get New Yorkers thinking about what kind of changes they might like to see in the city’s public phones, with the franchises under which private companies install, maintain and operate them set to expire next year.
The contest, as my colleague David W. Dunlap noted on Wednesday, might have some influence on the city’s payphonescape, but also might not, since the new franchises may be negotiated by the current mayor’s successor.