The first intercity phone call occurred in 1877 in Center City. Elisha P. Gray, a rival of Alexander Graham Bell’s, called New York City from the Western Union Telegraph Company at 10th and Chestnut Streets, Hidden City reported in a feature about Philly’s rich telephone history. And the phone call wasn’t just transmitting words.
The [first intercity] call was actually the world’s first long-distance telephone concert. In the Western Union building, pianist and music instructor Frederick Boscovitz played a piano that was heard by an audience at New York’s Steinway Hall. Subsequent concerts with other instruments and singers were also performed by players in Philadelphia and transmitted to New York. And you thought Skype was pretty amazing.