Eerie Cold War shelter uncovered under Brooklyn Bridge

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Sep 17, 2004
Moorpark, CA
Hey Dan and Joe, I wonder if you guys ever knew about this. Interesting piece of NYC history.

A routine structural inspection of New York's landmark Brooklyn Bridge has unearthed a forgotten Cold War-era stockpile of survival rations to be used in the event of a nuclear attack.

The cache of water drums, medical supplies, paper blankets, drugs and several hundred thousand calorie-packed crackers was found inside a vault in the bridge's masonry foundations, the New York Times said Tuesday.

The find, made last Wednesday, is especially significant because many of the supplies were packaged in boxes stamped with two evocative years in Cold War history: 1957, which saw the launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellite, and 1962, when the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

John Lewis Gaddis, a historian at Yale University who specialises in the Cold War, said US civil defence agencies were building fallout shelters all over the country in the 1950s and stocking them with survival provisions.

"Most of these have been dismantled; the crackers got mouldy a very long time ago," Gaddis told the Times. "It's kind of unusual to find one fully intact -- one that is rediscovered, almost in an archaeological sense. I don't know of a recent example of that."

The city's transportation department, which controls the Brooklyn Bridge, has moved to secure the site pending a decision on what to do with the find.

And the health department was called in to handle the drugs, which included supplies of Dextran for treating shock.

"We find stuff all the time," said Transport Commissioner Iris Weinshall. "But what's sort of eerie about this is that this is a bridge that thousands of people go over each day.

"They walk over it, cars go over it, and this stuff was just sitting there," Weinshall said.
Wow how can something like that be forgotten by the goverment? You would think that they would have a list of these places and slowly go down the list and take care of them, one by one. Thats a funny one Eric.
I know on the brooklyn side of the bridge there seems to be old dwellings built into the base of the bridge - I never heard of them being used for a bomb shelter, interesting!!!
Sad but true, Dan. I guess us old cold war relics know it all to well. Sure they give a damn, until the fit hit's the shan, then suddenly, you are a liability, or a throw-away.

But they had so many shelters during the cold war that I doubt even during it's height that they knew where they all were. And once the perceived threat is gone, it doesn't seem to matter that stuff just got left where it was.

I remember walking into a weapons bunker in several places over the years to discover ammo from guns that had long since gone out of the inventory.

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