NEW YORK CITY - AERIAL VIEW OF DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN - DAY
MULTIPLE STREET SCENES - DAY
The sidewalks crowded as usual. A sea of humanity. People
come and go -- always in a hurry. Oblivious of one another.
A TRAFFIC JAM -- A STREET being torn up by construction
workers; A SANITATION TRUCK loading up refuse; VENDORS
PEDDLING nuts and salted pretzels; PANHANDLERS blocking a
passerby. Intimidating. Demanding. Almost mocking.
We're surrounded by the teeming life of the city as we've
come to expect it -- complete with a cacophony of sound.
MULTIPLE CUTS -- Phone kiosks and phone booths on the East
Side and West Side -- uptown and down.
One frustrated caller has lost his money in the slot and he
takes it out on the equipment -- smashing the receiver
violently against the coin box until the instrument splinters
into a dozen pieces.
There are 237,911 pay telephones in
the five burroughs of the city of
New York. Many of them are still
in working order.
DOZENS OF QUICK CUTS --
NEW YORKERS on the phone in extreme close up. We don't hear
the words. Only the facial expressions inform us that these
are human beings under tremendous pressure. Life in the city
is wearing them down.
MULTIPLE SHOTS - JUST MOUTHS
Lips jabbering into receivers. Cross-cut against one
Despite increased usage of cellular
devices, an estimated four and a
half million New Yorkers and two
million visitors still utilize pay
telephones on a regular basis. At
thirty-five cents a pop... for the
first three minutes.
ANGLE ON CORNER IN MID-MANHATTAN - DAY
There's a phone booth situated on the southeast side of the
You're looking at the telephone
booth at the corner of 45th Street
and 8th Avenue in the heart of the
Manhattan theatrical district. It
has been scheduled to be removed
and replaced by a kiosk. It's one
of the few remaining phone booths
left in the city.
CAMERA MOVES IN on the irate caller in the booth -- a very
well-dressed gray-haired lady -- totally conservative in
WOMAN IN BOOTH:
You have lied to me for the last
time, you lowlife prick bastard! I
don't ever want to hear the sound
of your fucking voice again.
Yes, well fuck you, too!
She slams down the receiver and exits. The booth remains
vacant for a brief interval.
At least three hundred calls daily
originate from this booth. The
coins are collected twice a day.
This booth has been burglarized
forty-one times in the last six
Someone is approaching the booth, fishing in his pocket for
coins. This is STUART SHEPARD, snappily dressed, his hair
styled and his nails manicured. Here is a man who clearly
takes excellent care of himself. He sports a Donna Karen
suit and silk Armani tie.
He's about to step into the booth when he's accosted by a
middle-aged man in a soiled apron who's run out of a nearby
restaurant and has finally caught up with him.
Stu, we got to talk.
Wish I could accommodate you,
Mario, but this is my busy time of
How come you cross the street every
time you go past the restaurant?
Why don't I stop in later for some
There's no more drinks or free
meals until the restaurant starts
showing up in the columns like you
I'm doing my level best for you
One lousy mention in the Post and
you expect to eat for six months!
I got the food critic from the
Village Voice all lined up to give
you a review.
That's what you tell me last July.
And he never shows.