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Obscura Society NY: Silicon Dreams - The History of the Cell Phone, From Bell to Apple, Google, & Beyond

an interactive sound and walking tour that traverses the technological roots of Manhattan's west side

Trace the history of communication technology in New York City through sights and sounds as you traverse Manhattan’s west side, from the historic Bell Labs on the shore of the Hudson River to Google’s city block–long headquarters in Chelsea. The 1.3 mile walk unfolds chronologically, encompassing one of Greenwich Village’s most gorgeous Greek Revival-lined cobblestone streets, the Meatpacking District, High Line Park, and Manhattan’s own “Googleplex.”

This interactive walking tour, hosted by historian Dr. Kevin Dann, will include brief on-site audio clips of historic recordings of Bell Labs engineers, AT&T operators, telephone ringing devices, switchboard sounds, oral history interviews, archival poetry recitations, recordings from Chelsea dance clubs, and interviews with Google executives. Enter the cool dark “Labyrinth” corridor to the courtyard of the old Bell Labs, and look skyward to see the vast array of windows, behind which the 20th  century’s most productive hive of engineering innovation took place for two decades. Pass through a gauntlet of cast iron meatpacking warehouses that became world famous dance clubs in the 70s and 80s and navigate the sleek and sensuous surfaces inside the Chelsea Apple Store, to the sounds of history and the rich stories of technological development in the city that never sleeps.



Saturday, October 17th

11am - 1pm

Meet on the Hudson River Greenway, across the West Side Highway from Bank Street.  (On the side near the water, near the AIDS Memorial.)

Be prepared for walking and weather.