The Appreciating Water Tour. A Summer Adventure.

5) The Appreciating Water Tour.  A Summer Adventure!

New Yorkers take pride in their drinking water. If you arent from New York you actually aren't drinking water at all but some foul carcinogenic, excrement-filtered liquid that tastes like chalk and snake urine. So, this summer, lets discover the origins of why New York is known to have the best tap water in the country. Take a fun biking trip through the hudson valley, from the Croton reservoir down to the Harlem High Bridge.

weekend bicyclists on aquaduct bike trail. dobbs ferry ny.

Most of the historic croton aqueduct has been decomissioned for over 50 years and lies beyond our legal reach, but you will easily find the routes the pipes took from above ground can be a pleasant trail to follow. underground is a different story.

Fill your empty Poland Spring bottles up with water from any park fountain and lets begin...

southermost path of croton aquaduct trail. if you're gonna get lost, 
pray that it doesnt happen in the bronx. 

The story of new york's water begins with a raging fire...

after the great fire of  dec 16, 1835 (which incidentally broke out on water st. where sadly there was no water) in which 38 people were known to have died a slow painful burning death, a gaggle of NYC's top brass got together and twirled their mustaches before deciding to form the modern NYC fire dept.  It had been a cold december. So cold in fact that all of the pipes that brought water from the old croton reservoir at 42nd and 5th were frozen stiff and rendered useless.

You may find it hard to believe, but the old croton reservoir this lithograph depicts is the current site of Bryant Park and the new york public library. 
42nd and 5th ave.

It didnt take long to arrive at the conclusion that a more modern fire department would need to be developed if new york ever intended on being a world class city like London. It is scarcely pondered nowadays the strong collective desire the city and its residents had to become a world class city and compete in population as well as culture with a city like London. This is largely the reason why we vuilt central park.

...But not to digress, we give you New York's well as loudest.

The aquaduct's most brilliant feature is also its simplest. the use of gravity.
at the dawn of the industrial age, utilizing nature was out of fashion, but believe it or not, the water from upstate makes its way down to the city solely by the force of gravity. this gravity allows water pressure to build in the pipes. At its greatest, the pressure allows for the water to force its way as much as 6 stories upward. This is why whenever you see a building taller than 6 floors, you will also see a water tower on top.

If you ask anyone what the oldest bridge in new york city was and they answered "Why the Brooklyn Bridge obviously!" You have this authors permission to laugh loudly in their face, " Fool! How wrong you are! tsk tsk tsk! You know so little, for the High Bridge is the oldest bridge in New York City, is some forty years older than the brooklyn bridge!"

Unfortunately wheny ou're done laughing, your now embarrassed friend could retort cleverly tat the high bridge shouldnt count because it was modernized to the point where very little of the original structure actually still remains. however, i dont think your friend likely even knows what the high bridge is and where our water comes from.

highbridge then

high bridge now.