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New Yorkers dial into immigrant stories in phone booths

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 01:49

'Once Upon a Place' lets listeners pick up a phone inside an old New York City phone booth and hear immigration stories. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: New Yorkers and tourists in Times Square took a trip back in time on Tuesday (June 27), courtesy of repurposed phone booths outfitted with oral histories from the city's storied immigrant population. Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi and Times Square Arts introduced the interactive art installation "Once Upon a Place," which allows participants to listen to the stories of immigrants who moved to New York through the receivers of old pay phones - once a common sight on city streets. Mojadidi came up with the idea when he heard that the phone booths were being removed. "I wanted to do sort of an urban project about migration, a storytelling project," he said. "For me the fact that these phone booths were being removed, I immediately thought about bringing them back and putting a different kind of story into them." The artist reworked three phone booths and collected stories from several immigrants who now call New York home. Their stories were recorded in English or in their native languages. Visitors can step into the booths and listen to the narrations on the phone. Marelisa Morejon, an immigrant from Cuba, decided to listen as she passed by the installation. "You can hear different histories, and it's very touching," she said. Visitors and New Yorkers will be able to hear the stories through September 5.

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New Yorkers dial into immigrant stories in phone booths

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 01:49