Citywide Air-Raid Drill Brings In the Elephants on May 5, 1960

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The Lively Morgue is a daily photo blog from the New York Times in which an original photo from the newspaper’s archives is reposted along with tidbits of information gleamed from the historical article it accompanied. Along with a rescan of the original photograph, the backs of each photo are also scanned, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the editorial process of one of the world’s best newspapers.

Today’s posting details an air-raid drill from 1960.

May 5, 1960: A citywide air-raid drill stilled New York for 15 minutes, and everyone was ordered to take shelter. Television was blacked out while radio broadcast only emergency instructions. Con Edison reported a 90 percent cut in electrical demand during those 15 minutes, but there were still about 150 protesters outside City Hall, refusing to participate and calling for disarmament. A nationwide radio test had President Eisenhower cautioning that “it would be unwise to neglect our Civil Defense mission because our total defense mission is incomplete and meaningless without reliable and responsible home defense.” And so, bronx Zoo elephants were ushered indoors.

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's food scene with his Wife and the outdoors with their three dogs. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time working from a treadmill desk at home.

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