‘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

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.

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.