Thursday, December 24, 2009

W is for

water towers. ****

It's startling to look up and see these down-home looking structures. But New Yorkers need to flush their toilets and take showers! And our drinking water is so good, that people bottle and sell it.

The NYC water system dates from an 1800 aqueduct system that relies on gravity. At that time, people didn't live in buildings that reached up into the sky and so adequate water pressure could be maintained. But buildings got taller and taller and by the end of the 19th century, any building over six stories high was required to have a water tower.

And so it continues. The old water system works efficiently and fairly cheaply. There's 10,000 water towers in NYC! About a 100 or so new ones are made every year. Only two family-owned companies make and maintain the wooden and steel water towers-- and they've both been in business since the 1890s.

This fancy-schmancy building built a little house for its water tower. Can you spot it?

More information about the water towers here and here. And the history of the NYC water supply is here. I found this article about the building of a water tunnel interesting.

****Just X, Y and Z left! I think I may actually finish this ABC Along. My ABCs this year focus on NYS/NYC things.


minipurl said...

WHo knew? Such an interesting post.
I'm out of clever repartee and up to my eyeballs in cleaning (Visit from Mom tonight!) Your "W" info is just the thing to make me smile.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such an informative post. Congrats on finishing up your ABC posts.

Susan said...

Well you're ahead of me! We have a picture on the computer at work of the view from my boss's old job and there's water tower in it. Thanks for the info on something I look at every day!

stringplay said...

Fascinating. I'm coming back to this one later and learn more.