On July 31st, join Untapped Cities and the non-profit NYC H20 on a special tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir, built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water. The system became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950s and was decommissioned in the 1980s. Since then, nature has taken its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin, forming 50+ acres of a natural oasis on the border of Brooklyn and Queens.
The tour is led by Matt Malina, the director and founder of NYC H20. NYC H2O’s mission is to educate and inspire New York’s citizenry about its incredible water system. The remnants of the Ridgewood Reservoir experiment can still be seen within Highland Park, land purchased in 1891 to protect Brooklyn’s water system. A few years ago, walking paths were installed around the basins, two of which have been drained. Along this walk, you will discover the brick foundations that supported the walls of the reservoir and a former gatehouse. You can also find the abandoned force tubes that once pumped water from various collections points up into the reservoir.
Here are a few pictures of places you will see on this tour: