Phone Booths Are Back in Times Square—And This Time, They’re Telling Immigrant Stories

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tags: immigration, Times Square



Once upon a time, thousands of stand-alone phone booths dotted New York City. Today, only a handful remain. And in a new twist, three of those glass relics make visitors listen instead of talk.

Once Upon a Place is a new art installation that features oral histories from 70 immigrant New Yorkers, reports Sarah Cascone for ArtNet. It’s the brainchild of Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi, who found participants from neighborhoods all over New York.

Cascone reports that the exhibition in Times Square was three years in the making and required Mojadidi to refurbish trash-filled phone booths. In a press release, Times Square Arts, which commissioned the project, writes the booths were three of the last ones removed from the city, by the same man who first installed them in the 1980s. Today, pay phones and the booths that hold them are so rare that an example in Arkansas has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  




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