‘Recalling 1993′: City pay phones take New Yorkers back 20 years

Call that number to hear what was happening in NYC 20 years ago. Credit: Droga5
Call that number to hear what was happening in NYC 20 years ago.
Credit: Droga5

Life in New York City during the 1990s was much grimier than it is these days. Rats, drugs and graffiti ruled the streets.

But in 1993 the city began to change, and East Village-based advertising agency Droga5 and the New Museum have teamed up to take us back 20 years using pay phones with “Recalling 1993″.

“What’s one thing that’s on every street corner?” Ray Del Savio, associate creative director at Droga5, asked. “A pay phone, even though no one’s been using them since the ’90s.”

“Recalling 1993″ turned pay phones into time capsules. Dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from any pay phone in Manhattan, and you’ll hear a recorded message of what was happening in that area, or even on that particular street, two decades ago.

The project was launched in conjunction with the New Museum’s exhibition, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.”

“The exhibit is fantastic,” Del Savio said. “We wanted to do something to promote the show. To take it off Bowery and bring it to every street corner of Manhattan.”

While most New Yorkers probably haven’t picked up a pay phone in years, this new project invites residents to travel back to 1993, a pivotal year in the city’s transformation.

“There was a big mayoral race that was happening at the time,” said Jerry Hoak, associate creative director at Droga5. “The city was cleaning up and there was a greater police presence. The city was changing. It wasn’t as gritty as it used to be.”

Hoak also points out how all aspects of the city influenced the ’90s.

“It wasn’t just music and art, it was also politics and celebrities,” he said.

The oral history recounts memories such as Jim Abbott of the New York Yankees pitching a no-hitter, Mario Batali opening his first New York restaurant and the World Trade Center bombing.

Notable New Yorkers, who ran the gamut from celebrities to public figures and even regulars at local bars, lent their voices for the recordings.

The project took about four weeks to complete and has taken over approximately 5,000 pay phones in Manhattan. The recordings range in length, but most range from one to three minutes long.

“Recalling 1993″ will run until May 26.

Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."

Comments

1

  1. you do realize that ANY TERRORIST CAN PLACE POISON ON THE PHONES AND CLAIM MANY LIFES.BEWARE,IF YOU TAKE PART IN THIS GREAT PHONE IDEA AND REMEMBER WE MUST BE AS WISE AS A SERPENT/TERRORIST…..PLEASE WARN EVERYONE OF THIS POSSIBILITY. PEACE.