Last month, North Korea tested their latest and most advanced ballistic missile platform to date, the Hwasong-15, and although its reentry vehicle appeared to fail, the platform itself proved capable of covering enough distance to place cities on America’s eastern seaboard within its potential range. For the first time since the Cold War, Americans on the East Coast face the threat of nuclear annihilation from a posturing national opponent, prompting some to take a second look at the remaining facets of a nuclear era now long past.
In New York City, one of the most common reminders of the dark days of the Soviet nuclear threat look like they might be more at home in a video game than adorning the buildings on either side of America’s busiest streets. With three triangles and two words, these signs once offered the promise of safety, even survival if the worst were ever to occur – when the bombs dropped, every American in New York City needed only to find one of these signs and follow it to a nearby fallout shelter.
Today, however, these signs offer little in the way of safety, and could actually lead to a higher casualty rate if a nuclear strike were to occur. As a result, New York City has begun a new effort to remove these signs from many public buildings like schools.