Honestly, I had despaired of seeing this sort of thing ever again.
In the Fab Fifties, there was a short-lived craze of drilling kids in school to hide under their desks if the Russkies ever Dropped the Big One. Never mind the fact that the Big One could incinerate desks, schools and kids pretty much instantaneously if it was dropped in the right place.
There was also a series of public shelters, authorized in school, church and apartment house basements. H.G. Wells predicted this in the 1890s, when in his The Time Machine the basement cowerers evolved into the Morlocks, while the surface people became simple folk who were preyed on by the Morlocks. When push comes to shove, I’d rather be the preyer than the preyee.
Now, there are still dozens, if not hundreds, of small “Fallout Shelter” signs affixed to the buildings in which they were featured. Just walk through any urbanized neighborhood, and you’ll see them.
However, they had larger cousins, yellow signs saying ‘Public Shelter’ with an arrow and avery big S for Shelter. These, too, were posted with amazing frequency, and I was still seeing a few of them in the 1990s, before Forgotten New York was conceived. By the time FNY debuted, though, I thought they were gone.
I was dazedly meandering around in the snow one December afternoon when, turning a corner at Cuthbert and Beverly Roads in Forest Hills, I recognized this one immediately, even though most of the lettering has washed out. Of course, the childhood memories kept flooding back.
Actually I had more to worry about from the nuns who were ripping up my Baseball Digests from any plans Uncle Leonid had in the 1960s.