The New Museum has hijacked the city’s pay phones and transformed them into time machines that allow city-dwellers to make calls 20 years into New York’s past. Anyone strolling along Manhattan’s streets can now walk up to a pay phone, dial 1-855-FOR-1993, and hear a recording that uncovers what a particular neighborhood was like 20 years ago. From navigating the dangerous streets of Times Square to cab drivers fearing for their lives, this project paints a picture that’s quite different from the New York City we know today.
The project named “Recalling 1993”– conceived by East Village-based ad agency Droga5 and the New Museum — is an interactive project that turns 5,000 pay phones from Inwood to the Financial District into a geo-located time capsules inspired by the New Museum’s current exhibition “NYC 1993 Experimental Jet, Set, Trash and no Star”.
Featured voices sharing pre-recorded stories include actor Chazz Palmintieri, Michael Musto of the Village Voice and even former porn actress and cable television host Robin Byrd. With over 150 recorded oral histories from real New Yorkers recalling city life in ‘93, listeners who can stomach the gritty reality of life during that time have 4.5 hours to get to know the neighborhoods that once were.
“Recalling 1993 takes you out of the museum and onto every street corner in Manhattan, using one of the last remaining relics of that time: the pay phone,” the museum states in a promotional video for the project. The pay phone project will run until May 26th.