Recalling 1993 lets you "Step back twenty years into New York City's past. Call from any NYC pay phone to hear what was happening on that block in 1993." Other notable public history projects include the History Pin app and Shimon Attie's installations in Berlin and Rome.
John Locke builds, installs, and creates libraries in payphone booths in New York City. “There aren’t a lot of people out,” he said. “You can just go down, find a good booth, carry it out, latch it in. It takes seconds. And then just fill it up with books and let’s wait and see what happens.”
Photos of payphones from around the world. More international payphone photos. Stylized payphones from Brazil. Seen enough photos? Then perhaps you'd like to start calling some of them? [more inside]
"The streets of 2030's New York remain the only venues not under the thumb of the monolithic corporations. Manhattan’s three major hacker gangs have developed black-market technology that enables them to jack into the phone network though the payphone nodes, and redirect the payment deposited into that phone into their own coffers." The premise of a new cyberpunk novel? Nope. A new street game you can play with your friends.
50 Cents, Please. Remember When A Call Cost a Dime? Soon: the 50 cent NYC local phone call. The poor state of payphones in NYC has long fascinated me. Supposedly, most don't work because of vandalism (often, the dial tone works, but the you lose your coins), but I suspect Verizon just wants to maximize cell phone sales. And I suspect the payphone is an endangered species for health reasons. What's the state of the pay phone in your city?
Call the Vatican. Or Boston Public Library. Or Grand Central Station. A few friends of mine used to use this tactic to see what the weather is like. This is a database of public pay-phone numbers, along with location and occasional sundry information. Read, call, and contribute!
The Phone Losers of America have recently been floating a bunch of interesting telephony links. First, there's a great tutorial on How Telephones Work. LincMad Telephone Area Codes & Splits covers the Balkanization of American area codes. And of course, there's the ever-present Pay Phone Directory and the Telephone Prefix Location List. Lastly, those ten codes (e.g. 10-10-220, 10-10-321) are covered at The Ten Project.