Hello?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 1973. The pay phone at 14th street and 1st Avenue, south east corner is ringing. I pick it up.

“Tommy, you’re late!

“Ah, this isn’t Tommy.”

“Who is this?”

“I just answered the phone.”

“WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO WITH TOMMY??”

 

Tuesday, December 18th, 1973. Pay phone on Times Square IRT shuttle platform, third phone from the left beside the newsstand is ringing. I pick it up.

“Okay, so I pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees, I got that part. So what do I do with the feet, leave them on?”

 

Monday, January 28th, 1974. Pay phone outside Bodega Rico Habana at 91st street and Amsterdam Ave. It’s covered with snow and ringing when I go in for a box of mini-donuts and a can of Colt-45. Still ringing on my way out. I pick it up.

“You told your mother I didn’t love you?? I gave you a son you fucking piece of shit!

 

Friday, April 5th,1974. The Museum of Natural History. Pay phone next to the Men’s Room is ringing. I pick it up.

“Doctor Nadelman for Doctor Nudelman – can you hold please?

 

Friday, July 12th, 1974. Grand Central Station, main concourse, pay phone behind the shoeshine stand near track 32 is ringing. I answer.

“Jesus H. Christ! It’s coming out of the wall!!”

 

Thursday, November 28th, 1974. LaGuardia Airport, Eastern Airlines terminal baggage claim. Pay phone near the Hertz car rental desk rings.

“So if my dog isn’t moving he might be dead, right?”

 

Wednesday, February 12th, 1975. Chinatown, 27 Bayard Street outside the Kam-Bo Rice Shop. Red and gold Pagoda style pay phone is ringing. I pick it up.

“I ran out of glue and only half my scalp is covered!”

 

Sunday, February 23rd, 1975. South Ferry Terminal. Pay phone just outside the turnstile. First ring, I pick it up.

“No, no, Teddy isn’t Theodore, that’s someone else.”

 

Thursday, May 1st, 1975. Bryant Park behind the library, 41st street corner pay phone. It rings. I’m on it.

“Hi, I’m returning your call about the stolen beach balls.”

 

Monday, June 9th, 1975. Papaya King Hot Dogs, 72nd street and Amsterdam Ave. Pay phone outside is ringing. I answer it.

“I dropped two phone books on it but it’s still moving!!”

 

Tuesday, July 22nd, 1975. Astor Place, graffiti covered phone booth, corner of Lafayette Street. It rings, I pick up.

“So did you smoke all the fish or did you save me some?”

 

Monday, September 1st, 1975. BMT Subway station, south-east corner of Delancey and Essex Streets. Phone rings, I answer.

“No! It’s today, Hitler invaded Poland today!

 

Wednesday, October 8th, 1975. Fanelli’s Bar, Prince Street. Phone booth just inside the front door rings. I get it.

“Hurry up with the balloons, damn it! We’re all waiting in the laundry room!

 

Sunday, December 28th, 1975. Snow covered pay phone at Spring and Elizabeth Streets rings. I answer.

“Mom didn’t make it. “I’m so very sorry. I gotta go.”

 

Tuesday, February 10th, 1976. Bellmore Cafeteria, Park Avenue South and 28th street. Pay phone rings. I finish my rice pudding and answer it.

“Did you sleep with him? Come on tell me, I don’t care either way, really.”

 

Friday, February 20th, 1976. West 44th Street. Ames Billiard Academy pay phone at the top of the stairs. Ringing on my climb up. I answer it.

“I could be an astronaut. I don’t sleep much and I don’t need no air.”

 

Saturday, March 13, 1976. Zelf Tool and Die Works 44 Greene Street. Pay phone on the corner is ringing. I answer.

“I ate a whole one but nothing happened. Should I eat another?”

 

Monday, May 17th, 1976. Manganaro’s Hero Boy Restaurant. Ninth Ave. and 39th Street

Pay phone rings. I grab it.

“I have a collect call from Riker’s Island Detention Center, will you accept the charges?

 

Thursday, June 3rd, 1976. The White Horse Tavern, Hudson and 11th Street. Pay phone outside rings. I answer it.

“So how come you’ve never kissed me standing up?

 

Monday, August 2nd, 1976

“Okay, see I bought two chicken breasts with ribs attached that were on sale this morning and I think one of them has a tumor.”

 

Wednesday, October 27th, 1976. Phone booth at Madison and 79th Street. Ringing for a very long time while I wait for the cross-town bus. I can’t take it anymore and answer.

“Do you know you look like Keith Richards? The hair and the red leather jacket are fabulous. Why don’t you come up for a drink?” I’m across the street, look at the corner window, fifth floor, apartment 512, see me waving?”

I see him waving just as my bus pulls up. A nurse from Lenox Hill Hospital is waiting for the phone. I hand it to her and make my escape to the Westside.