The time capsule buried under 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn was pulled up today to an enthusiastic crowd, despite holding somewhat dismal results. MTA President Carmen Bianco started off the event saying he was, "as curious as everyone to see what history has left us," hoping for more MTA funding or gold bars.
So what did the good city government of 1950 leave under cement for the awaiting crowd to find? As archivist Toya Dubin opened the box, the photographers crowded around front were kind enough to yell to the crowds standing on benches that it was, "full of mud." The oxidized orange sludge was eventually removed to reveal newspapers, a glass box of microfilm, and a nickel.
Unfortunately, the contents were a bit of a bust because of their poor condition. Dubin explained that by freezing the newspapers and cleaning off some of the dirt, the journal and date of publication could most likely be identified (but many have already declared they're from October of 1949). Using that information, she thinks the full newspapers can be found using already archived editions. The microfilm, which had been stored inside a glass box with a degraded seal, she ruled unlikely to be salvaged. Dubin remarked, "I don't know why the subway workers wouldn't know anything you put underground gets wet."
That nickel, however, was intact. When Bianco was asked if it made him nostalgic for the MTA's former 5 cent ride, he laughed and responded, "Times have changed and that's all I can say."
The event was a joint effort between NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress and the New York Transit Museum. The Transit Museum will receive any salvageable artifacts from the capsule to put on display later this year. 370 Jay is currently the site of a planned science and tech incubation program in what an NYU rep called the "Brooklyn Tech Triangle" whose construction should start this year, thus the digging up of the capsule.