"Recalling 1993": Travel back to the pivotal year with any Manhattan pay phone

A New Museum campaign turns the pre-cell-phone relics into portals to the early '90s.

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  • Photograph: courtesy Droga5

    "Recalling 1993," dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from a Manhattan pay phone to hear a firsthand account of the neighborhood in 1993.

  • Photograph: courtesy Droga5

    "Recalling 1993," dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from a Manhattan pay phone to hear a firsthand account of the neighborhood in 1993.

  • Photograph: courtesy Droga5

    "Recalling 1993," dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from a Manhattan pay phone to hear a firsthand account of the neighborhood in 1993.

  • Photograph: courtesy Droga5

    "Recalling 1993," dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from a Manhattan payphone to hear a first-hand account of the neighborhood in 1993.

  • Photograph: courtesy Droga5

    "Recalling 1993," dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from a Manhattan pay phone to hear a firsthand account of the neighborhood in 1993.

Photograph: courtesy Droga5

"Recalling 1993," dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from a Manhattan pay phone to hear a firsthand account of the neighborhood in 1993.


The New Museum is taking its current exhibition, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” onto the streets with "Recalling 1993," which has transformed NYC pay phones into a hotline to the past. The show and its accompanying campaign celebrate a seminal time, New Mu argues, in NYC for the arts, politics and critical thought, and the adjunct "Recalling 1993" plays with a last remaining heirloom from that period: the pay phone.

Thanks to this collaboration between the museum and creative agency Droga5, New Yorkers can dial 1-855-FOR-1993 from any pay phone in Manhattan—roughly 5,000—to hear a story based on the 'hood they're calling from, told by a notable New Yorker. There are over 150 narratives from local legends, like Mario Batali looking back on the opening of his first restaurant—the still-thriving Babbo—to skater-style guru Dave Ortiz of Dave's Wear House reminiscing on the youthful days he spent in the Meatpacking District's smelly streets.

You can grab an aural slice of NYC's 1993 until May 26, when the exhibit also closes; just be glad NYC's cat-sized rats are still a thing of the past. Check out the website to see a map of the phones, and watch the video below for more info.


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