You are reading

Time Capsule Buried at Astoria Branch Library–Richards, Van Bramer Exchange Light-Hearted Words

Officials and students bury a time capsule at the Astoria branch library at 14-01 Astoria Blvd. Monday (Photo: QPL)

June 8, 2021 By Christina Santucci

A time capsule was buried at the Astoria branch library Monday that will remind those who open it in 25 years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sealed container includes – among other items – a Queens Public Library (QPL) face mask and notes from young patrons. The capsule will tell future residents about what it was like to live during COVID-19—through messages left by students of P.S. 171, which is located at 14-14 29th Ave.

“You will be able to send a message that we persevered after a once and a lifetime pandemic, and we did not just go back to normal – but to a new normal,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards told PS 171 students, who penned letters for the capsule.

Richards and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined library leaders, community members and school children Monday to bury the capsule at the branch, located at 14-01 Astoria Blvd.

“We don’t know exactly what the world will look like in 2046 or what services the library will be providing …but we hope that through our collective efforts, society will be more equitable and inclusive,” QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott Walcott said in a statement.

Monday’s event also marked the QPL’s 125th anniversary.

The Astoria library branch opened its doors in 1904, and is one of four remaining library buildings constructed with funding donated by Andrew Carnegie, Walcott said. The others are Poppenhusen, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven branches.

The capsule and some of the items included (Photo: Courtesy of QPL)

Besides the mask and students’ messages, the time capsule contains a laminated letter from Walcott, notes from other attendees, a historic photo of the Astoria Library signed by its staff, and a USB flash drive with stories from the Queens Memory Projects, which documented the pandemic and patrons’ memories of the libraries.

“Queens, we did it. We survived a pandemic. We came back stronger,” Richards wrote in his time capsule message.

He also presented a proclamation to library officials commemorating QPL’s 125th anniversary.

Van Bramer, who worked for QPL for more than a decade and is chair of the Council’s Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, recalled receiving his first library card as a child at the Broadway branch on Steinway Street.

“I get emotional at these events because I’m always coming home when I’m at a library event,” he said.

Van Bramer is running against Richards and former Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley in the Democratic primary for Queens Borough President later this month.

He and Richards exchanged some light-hearted words at the event.

“We have always had an interesting and loving relationship. We continue to have that,” Richards said, with his arm around Van Bramer’s shoulders. “One thing I can say is he is a true believer in libraries.”

Van Bramer noted that he had not hugged many people over the last year and a half.

“I just hugged the person that I am running against, so thank you Donovan for that moment,” he said. “See all things are possible at the Queens Public Library. It brings people together.”

Two fifth-grade salutatorians also read letters during Monday’s event – about how they picture the world in a quarter century.

“Life in 25 years will be great,”  student Willian Lema said.

He predicted that by then scientists will have discovered cures for every type of cancer, robots will perform various chores and flying cars will transport people to other countries to see family.

“I see myself in 25 years as a businessman and probably live in a house just for me with a cat. I hope I get paid so I can buy a Tesla and give some money to the poor and my relatives,” Lema said.

The time capsule is slated to be moved to the back of the Astoria building ahead of construction work scheduled to begin late next year. A plaque will then be installed to mark the new location.

The container will later be dug up and opened in 2046.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Gunman who fired shots at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 114th Precinct in Astoria and PSA 9 are continuing their search for a gunman who allegedly opened fire at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City last month.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, when officers responded to a 911 call and a ShotSpotter activation for multiple shots fired at 21-25 35 Ave. at the Ravenswood Houses NYCHA complex just after 2 a.m., according to authorities.

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.