Originally publish at nytimes.com by JUDY D’MELLO on March 16, 2003
NEW Yorkers have not dusted off their long-unused fallout shelters, but some are getting the brooms ready.
These cold war relics, often no more than an empty basement corner, were turned into bike rooms, storage areas, wine cellars and gyms in the post-fear years. The ubiquitous yellow-and-black signs that mark shelter locations are now covered with grime and graffiti.
“I’ve lived in this building for 10 years and only recently saw the sign next to a locked door near the laundry room,” said a Greenwich Village resident whose request for anonymity is a sign of newly tense times. “The super told me it was his workshop.”
Now, after dark warnings of possible attacks with “dirty bombs” and other weapons, she says the building should refurbish the room and stock essentials like water, medical supplies and a radio.