Despite hype, 64-year-old NYC time capsule worth only 5 cents – literally

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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN (PIX11) - The year was 1950 when then-New York City Mayor William O’Dwyer, along with other city officials, created a time capsule and buried it under slabs of concrete outside 370 Jay Street.

The designated location was the site of the then-brand new Board of Transportation Building.  Shoot to 2014, the 14-story building is now unoccupied as it gets ready to be re-purposed as a modern academic center for NYU.

Due to looming renovations, the New York Transit Museum decided to use it as an opportunity to unearth the 64-year-old time capsule.

To say expectations were high along Jay Street Wednesday morning would be quite the understatement.

Using a rope and pulley, constructions workers quickly unearthed the capsule which had been protected by a 5x5 corner stone.

TV cameras as well spectators, about 2 dozen of them, looked on with suspense which was very reminiscent of Geraldo Rivera’s now-infamous live television special where he promised to unearth and open a mysterious vault belonging to crime boss Al Capone.

The TV special proved to be disastrous.

What was expected to be inside the capsule was microfilmed documents relating to construction of 370 Jay Street, among other things.

What was found, looked more like Penne a la Vodka - the mushy, non-edible kind.

The orange slush was a result of unforeseen water exposure.

“The box the items were stored in was not water tight,” Gabrielle Shubert, Director of the New York Transit Museum, told PIX11 News.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t really come up with much to salvage except for a nickel which is still intact.”

Despite being disappointed, it appears many including Shubert, were left bewildered by the apparent time capsule fail.

“It’s a surprise to me because these were subway guys and anybody who works in the subway knows anything underground gets water on it,” she said.

According to officials, whatever items they manage to salvage from the capsule – which as of now only looks like a 1950 nickel – will ultimately be displayed at the New York Transit Museum.

In this particular case, if there was a way to showcase disappointment, the museum would have a new (and large) exhibit.

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