Recalling 1993: NYC Pay Phones Become Portal to the Past

When was the last time you used a pay phone? In the age of iPhones and Samsung Galaxies we hardly ever find ourselves slipping quarters into slots to reach out and touch someone, but that wasn’t the case back in 1993. Part of the New Museum’s “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” exhibition, the “Recalling 1993” project allows you to hear what every neighborhood in Manhattan was like 20 years ago by simply dialing 1-855-FOR-1993 at a pay phone. Who’s the voice on the other end? Well, that depends on the neighborhood; Droga5 and the New Museum enlisted notable natives like Dave Ortiz and club kid James St. James to talk about the areas they resided in or frequented back in those days. 5,000 pay phones are equipped to tell the story of the neighborhood they’re located in just by dialing the number.


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