A “suspicious package” discovered while crews were digging near the Flatiron building in New York caused a bit of a panic Wednesday afternoon, prompting officials to evacuate the building.
The NYPD confirmed that the object found was in a shape that resembled a missile. Inside the object were “documents and papers,” a police spokesman said.
Sounds vaguely ominous…. except…
Turns out, that “bomb” was actually a long-forgotten clubland relic – a time capsule buried in back of the legendary club Danceteria.
John Argento, who owned the club until its closing in 1986, was positively giddy when he was told the news.
“I told everybody that this was going to happen! People always asked me what happened to the time capsule. I’d say it’s in the alley next to the back of Danceteria. They weren’t supposed to open it for 10,000 years!”
The time capsule was the brainchild of Danceteria’s promoter and “creative genius” Rudolf Pieper.
“We threw so many ridiculous parties,” he said, explaining that they were always looking for themes. He and Pieper were looking at some mid-century, “Googie design”, and then, “We saw that Westinghouse had put time capsules at the World’s Fairgrounds in 1939 and 1964 and thought that was a great idea.”
“We bought it at the Army-Navy store on 14th Street and 6th Avenue” sometime around 1984 or 1985, he told us. “It was hanging from the ceiling,” he recalled. “We set it up on the third floor, by the big curved wall” that you can see the Desperately Seeking Susan, which helped immortalize the club, thanks to regular Madonna.
The missile wasn’t a real bomb, “It was a green, empty practice bomb. It had thinner metal… About three feet high and 16 inches in diameter,” Argento told us, explaining, “We kept it up for people to make contributions, write letters, and then three weeks later we buried it. The bomb had a little trap door on it. People could send messages to the future.”
The missile-turned-time capsule’s burial place was in what Argento described as a very narrow alley. “Two barbacks dug a trench and buried it in the dirt… we had a sign, ‘To all you Futurists, 10 feet opposite this sign is a time capsule. Please open it in 10,000 years.’
“We buried it and forgot about it,” Argento said. “It was one of a thousand parties…”
The story has delighted many former clubland regulars on Facebook, with many of the time capsule’s donators chiming in: