Fallout Shelters

In the sixties, places all over the City were designated as fallout shelters and stocked with the items the Office of Civil Defense deemed crucial to survival. I found various lists of them at the Municipal Archives. I’m dying to spend a few days going to all the locations listed to see if anything is still being stored there and what shape it’s in. From one memo:

“The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Park Avenue and 50th Street will be the first hotel in New York City to be stockpiled with Civil Defense Emergency Fallout Shelter supplies and equipment provided by the Federal Government … Beginning Wednesday, March 6, 1963 at 10:00 a.m. … eleven trucks of the New York City Department of Highways will transport 7500 units of Civil Defense supplies to the truck entrance … The supplies consist of emergency food, water containers, medical supplies, sanitation equipment and radiological detection instruments.”

—March 5, 1963 press release issued by the City of New York Office of Civil Defense, Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Subject Files, Roll 18, Civil Defense.

The medical kits included, among other things, Eugenol, (a toothache remedy) Kaolin and Pectin (diarrhea medicine) Penicillin and Phenobarbital.

From yesterday: a beautiful dog wearing snow boots.

Snowboots on Dog, New York City

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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