Cold War bunker found in Brooklyn Bridge
By Hussein Saddique
These "Civil Defense All-Purpose Survival Crackers" were from 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis.
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York workers have discovered a trove of Cold War-era supplies within the masonry of the Brooklyn Bridge, a cache meant to aid in survival efforts in the event of nuclear attack.
City Department of Transportation employees were conducting maintenance on the structure Wednesday when they found the cache on the top floor of a three-floor space inside the bridge's base, agency spokeswoman Kay Sarlin said.
Some containers were marked with two dates notorious in the annals of the Cold War: 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space, and 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis when the two superpowers may have come closest to war.
Sarlin said one of the containers was marked, "To be opened after attack by the enemy."
The stockpile included empty water drums and boxes of medical supplies, such as tourniquet bandages and an intravenous drip. Also, there were cans of high-calorie crackers with instructions to consume 10,000 calories a day per person. The instructions said the crackers should be destroyed after 10 years, but they were mostly intact. (Watch as Jeanne Moos tastes the 44-year-old crackers -- 1:58)
Sarlin said the space historically has been used for storage, but the department did not have any indication that the cache was stored there.
"It's hard to believe that the space was meant to be a fallout shelter, because it is not underground and light and air does get inside it," she said. "Could it have been a bunker for the mayor? We don't know."
The Department of Transportation plans to donate the drums and cans to a civil defense museum, while it will turn over the medical supplies to the city's Department of Health for disposal.
The bridge is a popular landmark that links Manhattan to Brooklyn. The supplies were found in the base just off the shoreline of Manhattan's Lower East Side.
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