Glen Cove’s mayor and a half dozen residents gathered around a traffic island last week, looking intently at a plot of dirt.
They were searching for a time capsule buried in 1968 to commemorate the city’s tricentennial. But so far they haven’t turned up much other than “old bricks and rebar,” said Daniel Ermmarino, who works for the city’s water department.
Ermmarino and other city employees recruited for the search used metal detectors to sweep the island at the intersection of School, Bridge and Glen streets. They were following a tip from a retired Glen Cove police officer, said Dave Nieri, a city resident who has led the search for the past year.
On May 25, 1968, officer Frank LaMare was patrolling the intersection, he said. He remembers city officials made a short speech to a large crowd and then buried the capsule in the traffic island.
“I recall the day, it was raining …,” said LaMare, 81. “It was all dirt on the island, before they planted the tree" that now stands there.
Metal detectors used by the search crew screeched at one spot beside a blue spruce still covered in Christmas lights. They started digging, repeatedly striking the tree’s roots before uncovering a heavy piece of concrete.
"It's a mystery and we're really trying to figure it out," said Mayor Tim Tenke, who was with the crew. "We're really hoping someone comes forward that holds the key."
Nieri and a group of residents first learned about the missing time capsule while preparing for the city’s 350th anniversary celebration last year last year.
“I inquired if anyone knew anything about it or where it was, and nobody did,” Nieri said.
They initially looked in front of the Glen Cove police station, which used to be City Hall, but couldn’t find anything, said Carolyn Willson, part of the search team and a former deputy mayor.
Some residents offered clues, including Joseph Muldoon, a former city judge and mayor who died last year. He thought it was buried in front of the Glen Cove Fire Department, Nieri said.
Then they found an old newspaper clipping which noted the time capsule was buried behind City Hall. The group was at first encouraged, but soon learned that a 1990s extension to the rear of the police station meant the capsule could be buried under that part of the building.
“I’m fairly certain it’s under the extension,” Nieri said.
They haven't given up quite yet. There’s a chance the capsule was discovered during the renovation and moved, Willson said.
“It could be sitting in somebody’s basement somewhere,” Willson said.
Nieri said he’s made sure a new time capsule created for the city's 350th anniversary will be found in the future.
That capsule — containing a city map, a letter from Tenke, a smartphone and other items — was stashed in an old clock on Glen Street last month. Nieri said he left documentation of the capsule’s location with the Glen Cove Library, the North Shore Historical Museum and the City Clerk’s Office.
“So if somebody says 50 years from now, ‘I wonder if there was a time capsule,’ hopefully they can find enough information that they can locate it,” Nieri said.
Possible time capsule locations
- The search committee first thought it was buried in front of the Glen Cove Police Department, formerly city hall. A newspaper clipping indicates it was buried behind the building.
- A former city judge and mayor thinks it was placed in front of the Glen Cove Fire Department.
- A retired police officer remembers it being buried at a traffic island at the intersection of Bridge, School and Glen streets.