4th Graders at East Village School Unearth Artifacts Missing for 58 Years
Fourth-graders at East Village, now known as the Children’s Workshop School, have uncovered what lay buried for 58 years. Hundreds of lost artifacts have been dug up from beneath the dusty cracks in the school’s floorboards. Now the items are on display at The City Reliquary in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in an exhibit, “Closet Archeology: An Accidental Time Capsule.”
Beneath the East 12th Street school, built in 1913, the dusty stashes found include tarnished 1946 wheat pennies, a copper buffalo nickel minted sometime between 1913 and 1938, Betty Boop and World War I buttons, a 1912 Highlanders baseball card from the pre-Yankees, Bazooka bubble-gum comics and even a petrified hamster. As reported by the NY Post, the excavated treasures also included a school savings deposit envelope with two bills from1935 and 1957, belonging to then 8-year-old student Alan Lederman. Teacher Miriam Sicherman tracked down two other Alan Ledermans until she found the correct owner. “I was stunned to learn that someone had found the money after all those years,” said Lederman, now a 67-year-old international tax lawyer in Florida.
The excavation began in 2015, when student Bobby Scotto, now 12, was curious as to what might lay hidden beneath the surface. “Then it hit me — there’s cracks in the closet where the door slides open. People are always walking in there. I was like, ‘Hey, they might have dropped some stuff down there,” said Bobby. “I looked into the crack, and in five minutes, my theory was proven right.” The entire class then joined him, using coat hangers or scissors to grasp tokens thought to be lost forever. Dust mites and rat skeletons did not deter the youngsters on their quest. Since then, other subsequent students have also pried open closet floorboards, revealing a trove of old things.
To enhance the exhibit, Larry Lederman, Alan’s brother and alumni, came in to meet current PS 61 students. He told the students how the school’s appearance had not changed despite the time lapse. He gave them a glimpse of his childhood, which was devoid of cell phones and tablets, but where they relished 15-cent pizza and 50-cent bowling. “The objects they found made them curious about the daily lives of their predecessors,” Sicherman said. “They also began to see themselves as part of history — and realized that their own daily lives would be fascinating to kids of the future.”
Fourth-graders at East Village, now known as the Children’s Workshop School, have uncovered what lay buried for 58 years. Hundreds of lost artifacts have been dug up from beneath the dusty cracks in the school’s floorboards