City Hall staffers found 52-year-old ‘survival’ crackers in the basement. And one staffer ate them

“You know what these would be really good with? Maybe, like, smoked gouda.’’

One employee at Boston City Hall had an interesting—and wicked old—snack on Monday.

Daniel Tewfik, an information technology project manager for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, uploaded a video to YouTube of City Hall staffers opening a box of civil defense survival crackers from January 1963 that they had discovered in the basement of the government building.

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Also called ration crackers, these now 52-year-old saltine lookalikes were meant to aid survival in the event of a 1960s nuclear fallout or other disaster. The surely calorie-dense snacks come sealed in watertight metal canisters—lucky the City Hall employees had a can opener to pry off the lid—and they’ve been uncovered everywhere from closed courthouses to inside the Brooklyn Bridge.


The Boston City Hall crackers have seemingly been in that basement since before City Hall was even officially built—construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1968.

The one brave soul who tried them said in the video that the crackers smelled like cardboard and “taste bad.’’ He did suggest, though, that they’d probably pair well with smoked gouda.

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So if you’re ever trapped in the basement of Boston City Hall and need to survive for a few days, make sure to bring some accoutrements along. And maybe a can opener.

Watch the full video of the staffers’ experience below:

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