6. Bryant Park, Formerly the Croton Distributing Reservoir

Bryant Park

While Poe didn’t amble on solitary moonlit journeys across High Bridge, he did likely enjoy a stroll atop the Croton Distributing Reservoir which once stood where Bryant Park and the New York Public Library are today. The reservoir was part of the Croton Aqueduct system which delivered clean water to New York City. The reservoir was bounded by 40th and 42nd Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues. It opened in 1842.

In his Doings of Gotham column for the Columbia Spy in 1844, Poe wrote of the stunning view from atop the reservoir walls:

When you visit Gotham, you should ride out the Fifth Avenue, as far as the distributing reservoir, near forty-third street, I believe. The prospect from the walk around the reservoir, is particularly beautiful. You can see, from this elevation, the north reservoir at Yorkville; the whole city to the Battery; with a large portion of the harbor, and long reaches of the Hudson and East rivers. Perhaps even a finer view, however, is to be obtained from the summit of the white, light-house-looking shot-tower which stands on the East river, at fifty-fifth street, or thereabouts. The reservoir was demolished in 1900.