Just when we thought we’d seen it all, we get word that there’s a Cold War-era bomb shelter hidden under the Brooklyn Bridge, amid the landmark’s many secret passageways and forgotten rooms.
The nuclear bunker is inside one of the massive stone arches below the bridge’s main entrance on the Manhattan side, and it’s chock full of supplies, including medication like Dextran (used to treat shock), water drums, paper blankets, and 352,000 calorie-packed crackers (that may be still be edible, in fact).
Inside the bunker, courtesy of Reuters/Seth Wenig
The forgotten vault was finally discovered by the public in 2006 when city workers performed a routine structural inspection. Previously, the city hadn’t revealed the location for security reasons.
Boxes of Civil Defense All-Purpose Survival Crackers, courtesy of CBS News
Interestingly, the supply boxes were stamped with two very significant dates: 1957, when the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite, and 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, courtesy of Stanley Greenberg
As we mentioned, the bomb shelter is one of many secret rooms in the bridge. On the Brooklyn side is the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, a series of eight rooms framed by the bridge’s piers. Designed by the bridge’s architect John Roebling in the Gothic style, the 50-foot-tall space was planned to host a shopping arcade, which never panned out. The rooms were used as municipal storage and for an occasional art exhibition until closing in 2001 for security reasons.
What’s most interesting about this discovery is that most of the tens of thousands of people who cross the bridge every day have no idea these secrets exist.