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Police and fire emergency call box.

New York Police and Fire callbox in Harlem.

There are approximately 15,000 emergency-help call boxes in New York City. And yes, they still function. Federal judges in 1996 and 2011 have refused the City’s repeated requests to have them removed citing obsolescence and the $6 million annual expense to maintain the call boxes. Advocates for the disabled and hearing impaired successfully argue that the call boxes are essential.