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The Ghost under the Brooklyn Bridge

Mar 29, 2006


This week workers at the Brooklyn Bridge chanced upon a forgotten room
containing supplies stockpiled against a nuclear attack. Dates on the
materials were evocative: 1957 - the year of Sputnik; 1962 - the year
of the Cuban missile crisis. This discovery is an oddly evocative
interruption from the high point last long war into what future
historians will doubtless see as the opening phase of the era-defining
conflict. It is like a ghost in a Shakespeare play -- reminding us of
just how bleak things were in the era of Sputnik and the Cuban missile
crisis, and how different the threats are today. Looking back, when
the USSR was the enemy there was some comfort to be derived from
imagining the mirror image state with its mirror image concerns. Al
Qaeda is a very different proposition. Beyond such musings the room
under the bridge is a fascinating comment on the abundance of
America's Cold War civil defense. Evidently there was so much
material being stockpiled that it
was possible to loose track of a supply cache like this. Hardly 'your
tax dollars at work.' One wonders what monuments to the defense and
homeland security budget of 2006 will turn up to haunt our


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