3. 26 Federal Plaza

Digging anywhere in New York is bound to produce an interesting find. In 2012, during a renovation project at Lafayette Plaza in lower Manhattan, workers found a small copper box behind the cornerstone of a federal building. The box had been filled with documents and sealed in 1968. Its contents included black and white pictures of the construction of 26 Federal Plaza, newspaper articles that chronicled the process, a letter from the Regional Administrator commending the project team as well as the front page of major newspapers, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and New York Daily News, each dated April 30, 1968.

The project manager of the 2012 renovation project, Ali Tabar, got a kick out of comparing photographs of construction tools from 1968 to the present day implements, noting, “we can see how much progress we have made in developing newer and better technology.” With help from the National Archives and Records Service, the contents of the 1968 box were resealed and reburied beneath the stones of the newly renovated plaza along with items from the 2012 project such as a sustainability scorecard for 26 Federal Plaza, pictures of the World Trade Center towers (dated 2001) and a rendering of the complete new 1WTC, a New York Times front page from 9/11/12, and a 9/11 commemorative coin. The boxes have no set opening date. Rather, they’re waiting to be found by perhaps another construction crew who can marvel at the progress made by their time.