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Capsule unearthed 46 years early • Brooklyn Paper

Capsule unearthed 46 years early

So this is the future? Well, not exactly.

When a group of civic-minded history buffs buried a time capsule on Dec. 11, 2003 to be opened 50 years in the future, few realized they would all live to see the day it was unearthed.

But it was. This week. Forty-six years early.

That was the unlikely scene on Monday at the Fort Hamilton Harbor Defense Museum, where the Bay Ridge Sesquicentennial Committee gathered with local pols behind a crusty tin box they buried only four years ago to commemorate its new, albeit temporary, home.

“The fact that this happened is aggravating and absurd,” said Committee Co-Chairman Ted General. “But we are really making the best out of a bad situation.”

The “situation” is this: the capsule’s original burial site, the front lawn of the Bay Ridge Funeral Home, at 7614 Fourth Ave., was disturbed last month by developers who are tearing it down to make room for condos. Fortunately, Fort Hamilton stepped to the plate and volunteered to store the capsule until it finds a long-term home.

“I know this has been a topsy-turvy experience,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D-Bay Ridge). “But today is a reassurance that the capsule will live to see the day when a new generation can discover its past.”

The original idea was to preserve a piece of the past as a way of commemorating Bay Ridge’s 150-year anniversary. The group collected newspapers, pictures, photo books, menus, and just about everything to help future generations understand what life was like in the year 2003.

Next, the group chose a burial site. A crystal ball (or, more accurately, a real-estate insider) would have come in handy.

Committee Co-Chairman Peter Killen, who is already in the process of scouting out new spots, learned his lesson: “Next time, it won’t be buried on private property. We will find a public place where they won’t be building condos.”

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