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New York Pay Phones Now Redirecting Users Back to the Year 1993

The New Museum promotes its "New York in 1993" exhibit with 5,000 pay phones that dispense location-specific history from the people who lived it.

The cult hit, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, imagined a future where phone booths served as time machines. Although it doesn’t appear society has yet mastered the flux capacitor, the boothless pay phones of New York currently are in fact serving as time portals—back to the year 1993.

Taking its name from an era-appropriate Sonic Youth album, the New Museum exhibit NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star celebrates the chaotic energy and culture of New York in 1993. In order to promote the exhibit as a conduit to the recent past, agency Droga5 arranged for 5,000 of the city’s pay phones to be equipped with bits of location-specific history from some of the people who lived it.

By calling 1-855-FOR-1993 from any Manhattan pay phone, users can access recorded messages about the area in which the phone is located from people like the Village Voice’s Michael Musto, chef Mario Batali, actor Chazz Palminteri, and noted scenester James St. James. Take advantage of the auditory time travel until the exhibit ends on May 26.