Transit Museum to unveil time capsule

September 25, 2014 Rick Buttacavoli
Much of what is now known about the time capsule comes from this Brooklyn Eagle article from October 1949.
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According to the Oct. 26, 1949, edition of the Brooklyn Eagle, a time capsule was created that month by then-Mayor William O’Dwyer, then-Brooklyn Borough President John Cashmore and then-Transportation Chairman William Reid, containing microfilmed documents relating to the construction of 370 Jay St., the then-new Board of Transportation Building.

Next week, on Oct. 1, the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn will unearth this 64-year-old time capsule, which resides at the northeast corner of the Jay Street structure. The building will soon centralize many of NYU’s technology, innovation and entrepreneurship programs and will serve as the home for the Center for Urban Science and Progress. Renovations offer the special opportunity to unearth this time capsule, which was created in 1950 when the building first opened, and presumably contains microfilmed copies of the building’s original construction and architectural plans.

The time capsule is currently underneath a 5 x 5 cornerstone near the building’s main entrance on Jay Street, just south of Myrtle Avenue and next to the Downtown Brooklyn information kiosk. At the Oct. 1 unveiling, the cornerstone will be lifted out by rope and pulley, revealing what is assumed to be a metallic chest underneath. A conservator will be on-hand to carefully inspect the contents. After the unveiling ceremony, the time capsule documents will be digitized and printed in a lab and used to inform NYU’s renovation plans. The original materials will then be transferred to the Transit Museum for display in early 2015.

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