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Reach out and touch someone

This morning on my way to take the B44 to Billyburg plaza, I noticed the buses on Bedford passing Myrtle. They may have all been going to Flushing, but the B54 was a mere block away, so I decided to take it to the Myrtle stop on the JMZ instead. Standing there on the corner of Myrtle and Nostrand, I noticed this

An innocuous looking payphone, or is it?

Wait, what’s that sign say?

Holler Back.

That’s what I thought. Holler back!

If it were a snake it would have bit me. Instead, it’s a subtle signage hack which made my day. The reverse side says “I can hear you bro.” I love this kind of thing. You could miss it for months! Then one day you discover it and you never look at that particular pay phone in the same way. It could be a piece of corporate art, but phone companies are hardly known for their subtlety and nuance. I haven’t noticed any other signs on other payphones, but I also haven’t been looking.

Does anyone know the story behind this sign?


  1. sorabji wrote:

    i don’t know the story on that one but this phone at queens plaza had a creative bent to it as well. verizon allowed artists from “the space” to have some fun with it. it was a working payphone. maybe something similar is it work with the one you saw.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  2. Pamela wrote:

    The sign has been up for the past few years. Don’t know the story but I do enjoy it.

    Monday, June 9, 2008 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
  3. Manny Fernandez wrote:

    Greetings. I’m a Metro reporter for the Times. I’m working on a story about gentrification in Bed-Stuy and was hoping to talk to the author of this blog. I couldn’t find an email address. My cell phone is 202-489-9582. My email is


    Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

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