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Bridge to the past
March 22, 2006 12:51 PM   Subscribe

In case of Soviet attack, head to the Brooklyn Bridge.
posted by keswick (36 comments total)

 
The article wasn't very specific about where they found this stash. Anybody know?

And was she /surprised/ that the 50 year old crackers tasted like cardboard?
posted by raedyn at 12:56 PM on March 22, 2006


Gothamist's post on this story, including links to two Flickr sets of pictures from inside.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:56 PM on March 22, 2006 [1 favorite]




Saw some of this on the tele last night. Cold War paranoia is going to be fun to explain to my own children some day, since I had a hard time understanding it to begin with. A simple find like this tells a huge story.
posted by bardic at 1:02 PM on March 22, 2006


raedyn, the stuff was found on the Manhattan side of the bridge and—I believe—on the third floor. They're being discreet about the exact location to discourage the curious.
posted by TheNakedPixel at 1:06 PM on March 22, 2006


The 17.5-gallon metal drums, presumably once filled with water, were labeled, “Reuse as a commode.”

Sublime.

This is nifty; too bad there aren't more (color) photos.
posted by Gator at 1:10 PM on March 22, 2006


There was a time pre-911 when art installations, bands and raves happened at the anchorage on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. The anchorage is massive, vaulted and decidedly Victorian . A fantastical structural space. That probably isn't going to happen again any time soon...
posted by Skygazer at 1:16 PM on March 22, 2006


This is all over the news.
posted by agregoli at 1:17 PM on March 22, 2006


The pictures make the story more engaging, don't they?
posted by raedyn at 1:17 PM on March 22, 2006


10,000 calories a day?
posted by geoff. at 1:30 PM on March 22, 2006


If they had to update the bunker, what would they need to support the hipsters in case of nuclear attack?
posted by dr_dank at 1:35 PM on March 22, 2006


Civil Defense All Purpose Survival Cracker

That's awesome. Very 1950s insanity.
posted by teece at 1:45 PM on March 22, 2006


The metal cracker container was just "broken open"? In a stash that hadn't been disturbed in goodness knows how long? Yeah, that excuse doesn't wash in the grocery store, either.
posted by davejay at 1:56 PM on March 22, 2006


I found a similar cache in Buffalo (NY)... here's a few photos.
posted by jdfan at 2:00 PM on March 22, 2006


Civil Defense All Purpose Survival Cracker.

Ooh! That's my new superhero name!
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:02 PM on March 22, 2006


oh, and the are pretty bland. I tasted one from an unopened cannister. anyone want some eyedrops?
posted by jdfan at 2:02 PM on March 22, 2006


I heard about this the other day on Batavia's very neat local AM radio news program and completely forgot to look it up when I got home, so thanks for the link.

jdfan - I live near Buffalo and am curious as to where this is.
posted by rob paxon at 2:02 PM on March 22, 2006


The underground catacombs of my tiny college had cold war supplies like these in it. I nabbed a giant 25 lb. metal tin of hard candy from down there and kept it in my dorm room for the rest of the year.

It was good stuff, too... until the moisture got to it.
posted by BobFrapples at 2:04 PM on March 22, 2006


Anyone have an opinion on the b&w photos vs color? I found myself frustrated that there wasn't more immersive documentation, if that makes any sense.
posted by VulcanMike at 2:15 PM on March 22, 2006


OK, here's the thing about those 17.5-gallon metal drums:

I used to own one, but how I came by it is an even weirder story.

In 1981 I was in a punk band in Pullman Washington. We had a gig playing in one of the WSU campus theaters. And we get there way early, and we're setting up, clearing stuff of the semi-used stage, looking for stuff to put amps on, crap that we could put on the stage as decorations, that sort of thing.

Suddenly, our drummer, moves a pile of tables & boxes, and says, "Hey what's behind this little door?"

And there was this half height door.

And we open it, and inside is a large-ish room, that is full of stuff like in the story mentioned above.

"Hey, check out these drums," says the lead singer/guitarist pointing to one of those 17.5-gallon metal drums.

I reply, "Perfect to set your amp on. Is there anything in them"?

I pick one up, it's light, like it's empty. But when I shake it, there's something rattling inside.

"Open it up and see," says the lead guitarist.

The thing is crimped down along the whole edge of the lid, so it takes a while, but I'm able to pry the lip back and the lid comes flying off, followed by ... PARTY HATS!

Sealed inside this drum were 2 dozen of those boater style party hats that people wear at political conventions.

We were all silent for around 10 seconds.

"What the fuck were they thinking?" exclaimed the drummer. "Who the would need those after an atomic war??"

Anyway, I ended up keeping one of them (they had about 40 of them). And, oh yeah, all of them had that telltale rattle like the had hats in them too.
posted by Relay at 2:20 PM on March 22, 2006


Civil Defense All Purpose Survival Cracker.... That's my new superhero name!

Too late, AZ: that troop carrier's already sailed.
posted by rob511 at 2:23 PM on March 22, 2006


Great story Relay, but what's the flippin' deal with only keeping one? You could have ebayed the shit out of those.
posted by rob paxon at 2:23 PM on March 22, 2006


Bread line next to the anchorage, c. 1930. Article in Harper's, May 1883. Tons of amazing b&w photos from (what I think is) the early 70's, including rare shots of the bridge's guts. More Brooklyn Bridge historical goodness from the Library of Congress.
posted by milquetoast at 2:24 PM on March 22, 2006


Sorry for the long post, but when I saw those drums ...
posted by Relay at 2:24 PM on March 22, 2006


"You could have ebayed the shit out of those."
rob paxon

Not in 1981 I couldn't ... and they also take up a lot of space.
posted by Relay at 2:27 PM on March 22, 2006


Great story Relay, but what's the flippin' deal with only keeping one? You could have ebayed the shit out of those. - rob paxon

You read the part where he said he found them in 1981, right?
posted by raedyn at 2:28 PM on March 22, 2006


Civil Defense All Purpose Survival Cracker
by National Biscuit Company

I wonder if they still make them?
posted by bashos_frog at 2:31 PM on March 22, 2006


Heh, well spotted bashos.
posted by Gator at 2:40 PM on March 22, 2006


Well shoot, I'm gonna go check and see if I can find a bunker in the Williamsburg Bridge. Anyone wanna place a bet on how long it takes me to get arrested?
posted by jrb223 at 2:44 PM on March 22, 2006


My mother works in the county courthouse in my hometown; they've still got a bunch of old 60s Civil Defense stuff like this in the basement. I should give her a call...
posted by mrbill at 2:47 PM on March 22, 2006


Well shoot, I'm gonna go check and see if I can find a bunker in the Williamsburg Bridge. Anyone wanna place a bet on how long it takes me to get arrested?
posted by jrb223 at 5:44 PM EST on March 22 [!]


Good luck finding it. The Willyburg bridge, like it though I do (it reminds me of the book and film A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), is a tinker toy compared to the Brooklyn. There might be a bunker though (especially on the Manhattan side).
posted by Skygazer at 3:15 PM on March 22, 2006


The university I attended back in the late 70's had these caches all over the campus...underground, in the steam tunnels that connected every building.
We regularly scavenged the cans of candy (the survival biscuits were foul enough to make one wonder if survival was worth it) The truly primo score were the bottles of pain killers and amphetamine (hey...it was the 70's)
I still have a memento of those days...a 17.5 gallon can intended as potable water storage. Makes quite a nice trash can in the studio.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:43 PM on March 22, 2006


I've eaten both the All Purpose Survival Crackers and the Carbohydrate Supplement (hard candy.) I remember specifically the hard candies as being from October 1963. They're still good. They came in red and yellow flavors, and I believe they contain the red dye since banned for causing the cancer.

In the shelter that's what you were expected to eat.

I was going to write a long post about the cool fallout shelter I got to look at, but I realized I already wrote an article back when I was on Kuro5hin. So go read that if you want.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:08 PM on March 22, 2006


Thanks for the link, TheOnlyCoolTim. I like how the initials for the Office of Civil Defense spell OCD.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:52 PM on March 22, 2006


It ain't over until the fat lady is incinerated. From The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
  • We estimate that as of early 2006, Russia has approximately 5,830 operational nuclear warheads in its active arsenal.
  • As of January 2006, the United States stockpile contains almost 10,000 nuclear warheads.
(Not to mention a few other places like Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan.) If we bring the snacks, maybe the Soviets Russians will share some shelter space, da?
posted by cenoxo at 10:26 PM on March 22, 2006


Civil Defense All Purpose Survival Cracker

How many other purposes are there for a cracker?

"Dammit Bob, the missiles are raining down, the Cuban tanks are rolling down Main street, but I will be hogtied and fucked silly by a bull negro before I let you put devilled ham on a cracker clearly specified peanut butter only!" *Draws .45*


Relay,
Amazing story, don't be surprised if you see it turn up in someone's fiction in the future.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:57 AM on March 23, 2006


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