Snapshot: Brooklyn Mailing & Wireless - No Internet Here
By David J. Glenn
If any cell phone store outside of Boro Park had an inventory of 99 percent flip phones, it likely wouldn't stay in business very long.
But this is Boro Park and Brooklyn Mailing & Wireless on 49th Street does a thriving business offering essentially flip phones only as their clientele shun smartphones. This is because they want to avoid the spiritual pitfalls of having the Internet and email in the palm of their hand.
"It's what cell phones originally were meant to be — simply a way to make phone calls from anywhere, without being tied down by a landline or having to find a pay phone," said Yossi Farkas, who had started as an employee of the store but eventually partnered with owner Avrum Mayer Altman.
The only added feature that some of the flip phones have, Yossi pointed out, is the capacity to text. There's no keyboard, though — users have to press the numbers corresponding to groups of three letters under them. It can be tedious, especially if you need the third letter and so have to press the number three times. If you want a full keyboard on it, it'll run you about $300."
Flip phones without texting at all, also are available at the store.
Either way, you won't have Internet or email.
"That's just fine for our customers," Yossi said.
Appropriately enough, the store does not have any website — the only way to buy a phone without visiting the store is, you guessed it, by phone.
"We get orders from all over the world," Yossi said.
After opening the store 25 years ago, Yossi and Avrum later added email and mailing services, including maintaining some 700 postal boxes on the premises. They handle FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Amazon shipments, as well as U.S. Postal Service mailings and products. You can even get stamps.
They also offer notary public, fax, scan, and copying services.
Who says you need the internet, anyway?