‘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
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.

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.