Mark A. Thomas Contact Info

mark a. thomas / p.o. box 181 / new york, NY 10185-0002
e-mail: mark [at]

The LinkNYC/Mr. Softee Shenanigan Was All Me. I Was’s Front Page Story on December 13, 2018
Read the stories in sequence: (one two three four five and six). Don’t miss Jennifer Hsu’s video of me in the final installment. I don’t like being on video and did not even want to do this one at all but it turned out really sweet.

CBS Sunday Morning, March 26, 2017
I was interviewed by Mo Rocca on the subject of phone booths and payphones. It took me a few months to do it but I finally watched the segment. It’s damn good. See how I felt about being put in front of 6,000,000 people here.

New York Times. May 13, 2004 (Front page)
“It started as an art project. … But soon the project changed as panicked e-mail messages started arriving from people who needed to learn the location of a certain pay phone.”

Como Audio: Tech Rap: Station Spotlight
My Payphone Radio project is #7 on this list of interesting and bizarre programming Peter Skiera finds on Internet radio. “Think of it as a spoken private journal, broadcast for the entire world to eavesdrop on. These ‘confessions’ quickly become addictive, like a kind of one-man telephone reality show, and a part of me felt guilty for listening in.”

Battle Creek Enquirer. September 18, 2019
“Mark Thomas has spent nearly 25 years chronicling the evolution of pay phones. He began the Payphone Project in 1995 in an effort to list pay phone numbers and locations around his Manhattan home.”

Reading Into The Future
It’s nice when someone writes about the non-payphone related things I’ve done. I love this line from the Indian Express: “Seven years before Facebook, nine years before Twitter, there was”

LA Times. November 24, 2014.
“The Payphone Project has … been heralded by AT&T as the definitive site chronicling the phones’ decline.”

Williamsburg. March, 2016.

Williamsburg. March, 2016.

Debbie Kelley: “Don’t write the pay-phone eulogy yet
Read me trying not to wax nostalgic about payphones at the at the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Huffington Post. July 19, 2016. “The Servant of Syncopation.”
“Generally, he spends his days walking around the city. It’s not unusual for him to devote six hours per day to his double-digit treks.”

ABC10 in Denver, Colorado
I was interviewed on June 1, 2016, on the occasion of the public pay telephone’s 136th anniversary.

Minnesota Public Radio
Bob Collins interviewed me over the phone to talk about my various telephonic escapades. This story is from 2007 but I do not remember seeing it until 2017, 10 years later. At the end of the text you’ll see a sentence saying that the audio files are in RealAudio format. That sentence has been crossed out. That’s because after I contacted him Bob was nice enough to go back and restore the audio files that had disappeared from this and several other stories as a result of some kind of server move. Not only did he restore the audio but he made it available in the more universal MP3 format.

Hebrew School
“Few destinations on the web are as dependably satisfying as Queens resident Mark Thomas’s”

Time Out New York. April 10-17, 2003.
“Mark Thomas has one bizarre little black book.”

Transformations: Identity Construction In Contemporary Culture
“One of the oddest examples of expansionary individualism, the extreme version…”

la A Phone Call To The World?
This link takes you to an automated translation of a story originally in Italian. The translation program makes the layout of the page look weird and the language is kind of chunky but it’s a good story. I like how it says my web site is “Assaulted by nearly 50,000 people per month”. The original Italian version of the story is here. Calling All Strangers
“Thomas first realized how popular his site had become while walking through Queens. ‘I answered a ringing pay phone at the 36th Ave. subway station in Astoria, and the caller said he found the number for that phone at the website.'” This link is from’s Wayback Machine.

Random Brushes With Humanity. St. Pete Times.
“He has always been about communication, says his mother, Carole Thomas of Tampa. ‘He was able to sing in his crib. Then I didn’t know all babies didn’t sing.'”

St. Pete Times: Web Site We Like
“Bear with me on this, because it’s a little weird.”

MPNnow: Brother, Can you Spare a Quarter?
“Believe it or not, there is, in fact, a whole legion of pay phone admirers out there, from midtown Manhattan to Rome, Italy. And they’re (sic) fearless leader is Mark Thomas of New York City.” This is from’s Wayback Machine.

Listen To Me On The BBC
“Jumping down the line. Crashing into so many different lives, different stories.” BBC Oral historian Alan Dein interviewed me at length from the UK. I took his call from an Astoria phone booth. My comments about this interview, which I completely forgot existed, are here.

Columbia News Service
“Thomas, a soft-spoken, 34-year-old classical pianist, is the self-appointed poet of the pay phone.”

Lorain County Chronicle-Telegram
“Mark Thomas was building Web sites before most people even knew what a personal computer was.”

A Ringing Endorsement. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“Yet, every once and again, a brave soul steps into the gap of danger and endeavors to touch people at random. This is best done by telephone. Take it from Mark Thomas.”

Columbia News Service: Charting The Payphone’s Demise
This link is via’s Wayback Machine. It could take several seconds to open.

Missoulian: An Age Of Constant Cell Contact
“It began, in some ways, with Thomas watching talk show host David Letterman call a pay phone located outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York during his show and seeing which passer-by would pick up the receiver.”

The Lede: A New York Times Blog.
“Inconvenience may make our blood boil, but it’s inspiration that stirs the heart and demands that fans pay respects before pay phones are relegated to pop culture history.”

New York Times. May 14, 1998.
I cannot believe I used to look like the person in the picture for this story.

A New Zealand Radio Station Calls a Number From The Payphone Project. Mild Hilarity Ensues.
This audio was brought to my attention by Walter, who is heard in this bit. He used to get a phone call every two or three months from people thinking they were calling a payphone in Delaware. He thought it was hilarious.

Listen To Me On NPR’s Marketplace
“I actually love the smell of a filthy payphone,” Thomas says, “I’ve noticed sometimes you can smell a mix of one man’s cologne with a cigar – all these odd, disparate scents all come together on a public phone.”

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