3. The Oldest Time Capsule in NYC Was Opened There


There are time capsules hidden in buildings, parks and museums throughout New York City, some with opening dates set thousands of years into the future. The oldest, unopened time capsule, that was recently opened, belonged to the New-York Historical Society. The time capsule was sealed over 100 years ago by the Lower Wall Street Business Men’s Association during a celebratory parade. The parade was in honor of the area’s historical significance in the tea and coffee trade and the Revolutionary War. The route started at Fraunces Tavern and ended at 91 Wall Street where the presentation and sealing of the times capsule, an ornate bronze box decorated with faux-rope handles and paw-shaped feet, took place. The box was hammered shut with bronze nails and a silver hammer by the ex-mayor of New York and former president of Columbia University, Seth Low, and entrusted to the president of the New-York Historical Society.

The box was supposed to be opened in 1974, but due to a cataloguing error, it went unnoticed until the 1990s. Since the box had already missed its due date by twenty years, the opening was further postponed until October 8th 2014, as a way to mark the 400th anniversary of the Dutch colonization of the New World. At the highly anticipated opening, the contents of the box were revealed to be various documents wrapped in brown paper and envelopes labeled with neat cursive handwriting. Among the documents were a copy of the New York Herald from May 15, 1914, a color copy of the 1914 Almanac, a photograph of the daughter of John Jay, and a letter extolling New York and the Merchants’ Coffee House as the true birthplace of the revolution. While instructions called for the items to be returned to the box and resealed for another 100 years, the Historical Society determined that the items would be more useful as artifacts to be examined.