Droga5’s ‘Recalling 1993’ Project Turns NYC Pay Phones Into Geo-Located Time Capsules

Get the history of the area from any Manhattan phone

Do you remember what life was like in Manhattan in 1993? The rats, the graffiti, the parties, the drugs, the … pay phones. Fear not. The East Village-based ad agency Droga5 and the New Museum have teamed up to give you a glimpse back in time—using that suddenly resurgent old communications device in the process.

Agency and client have launched "Recalling 1993," offering a raw, unfiltered listen to what was going on around New York City 20 years ago. The campaign turns pay phones into geo-located time capsules—dial (855) FOR-1993 from any pay phone in Manhattan, and you will hear a personal account of what was going down in that particular area in 1993, a pivotal year in the city's history. The recordings offer memories of everything from the World Trade Center bombing in the Financial District to the club culture at Limelight in Chelsea to the opening of Angels in America in Midtown.

The effort promotes a new exhibit at the museum, "NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star," which is running through May 26. There are more than 4.5 hours of content in total—over 150 recorded oral histories from real New Yorkers—so hopefully you have some extra time on your hands. See more in the video below, and listen to a sampling of the stories at the link above. Credits below.


Client: New Museum

Campaign: "Recalling 1993"

Agency: Droga5, New York

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Executive Creative Directors: Ted Royer, Nik Studzinski

Associate Creative Directors: Ray Del Savio, Jerry Hoak

Copywriters: Colin Lord, Bryan Wolff

Art Directors: Jen Lu, Daniel Sumarna

Head of Integrated Production: Sally-Ann Dale

Executive Producer: Scott Chinn

Executive Interactive Producer: Lindsey Slaby

Producer: Jennifer McKenzie

Production Assistant: Goldie Robbens

Technical Director: David Justus

Creative Technology Lead: Fran Devinney

User Experience Director: Kathrin Hoffman

User Experience Designer: Eileen Tang

Associate Digital Producer: Ian Graetzer

Senior Print Producer: Jeannie O'Toole

Print Production Assistant: Annick Thomas

Brand Strategist: Matthew Gardner

Strategy Intern: P.J. Mongell

Researchers: Amelia Barry, Sarah Gancher, Bo Jacober

Group Account Director: Olivia Legere

Account Director: Caitlin Chandler

Account Manager: Louisa Cronan