There’s a Cold War Bomb Shelter Hidden Under the Brooklyn Bridge

September 12, 2014

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).

Brooklyn Bridge Bunker, Cold War bomb shelterInside 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.

Brooklyn Bridge Bunker, Cold War bomb shelterBoxes 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 AnchorageBrooklyn 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.

[Via Roadtrippers]

Lead image courtesy of via photopin cc

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  1. W

    Thanks for finally talking about >There’s a Cold War Bomb Shelter Hidden Under
    the Brooklyn Bridge | 6sqft <Loved it!

  2. V

    I’m from Australia and in September 2023 was truly Blessed to finally cross yr beautiful Brooklyn Bridge! It was absolutely fantastic, but made more magical hearing the song Empire state of mind whilst walking, the vendors were playing it and it just made it all feel so surreal that after 56yrs I was finally where I always wanted to be. Which was thanks to my Brother Grant for taking me. One of my greatest moments in life. Your city is beyond magnificent.