New York City is revitalizing old pay phones and turning them into informational tablet kiosks.

The tablet kiosks, which are being called “SmartScreens,” let people find directions, check out local news and even contact emergency services. NYC announced the program back in April, but the first conversions opened up this week. Cisco Systems and City24x7 are powering the program. So far the city has converted ten stations into these 21st century information booths, but the program calls for 250 conversions throughout the five  boroughs of NYC.

The kiosks are outfitted with free Wi-Fi. In addition, the kiosks are outfitted to help out in emergency situations, which could come in handy during the next hurricane (if they aren’t flooded or they don’t lose power, that is). Here is more from City24x7′s website: “City24x7 is built to deliver critical first-alert information directly to the very environments where we live, travel and work. In addition, the embedded connectivity has possibilities for a wide range of sensors and services including still and video cameras, environmental and biological sensors.”

Engadget has more about the NYC kiosks: “We’re told that multiple mobile apps are being made available via the 32-inch multitouch panels, though as of now, only ten installations have gone live.”