New York Daily Photo Analytics

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tank Worship

The NYC skyline is known for many its many icons, but water towers are not generally among them. However, one of the most ubiquitous sites in the city, from the street and above is the water tower. Estimates are that there are over 10,000 in the city with over 100 being built or replaced each year. And there are only two companies that make them, both dating back to the 19th century: Isseks Brothers and Rosenwach Group. The city's natural gravity-driven system is adequate to supply buildings up to six stories in height. After that, additional pressure is needed. By storing a typical day's supply in a rooftop tank, adequate water pressure for the entire building is able to be supplied by gravity - at night the tanks are filled by pump - this eliminates a much more expensive pumping system to supply water at all times and at peak demands. Click here for a more detailed description with links on the operation of water towers. These wood tanks were photographed on University Place. Most of the city's towers are exposed, some have them covered with elaborate cupolas. Like many things in the city, there has been a romanticization of the water tank - in Tribeca, tanks are considered a decorative element. The ultimate validation of tank worship? - in 1998, an art project was funded called Water Tower - now part of the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection - check it out here ...

9 comments:

Curly said...

Cor blimey! They might work well, but what an eyesore, there must be better ways surely?

Brian said...

Curly - that's the insanity of New York. These type of things become loved and worshipped even though they may be like you say - an eyesore. New Yorkers are just too proud - so they start viewing everything in a positive light. Horrible neighborhoods become "edgy" etc.
Brian

John Nez said...

Fascinating stuff. I was always intrigued by those wooden water tanks since they always looked so out of place in the modern age when nothing is made of wood anymore.

Interesting to find out more about them.

I don't know if I've ever seen them used in any city other than New York. You sure as heck don't see any here in Seattle.

Olivier said...

Superbe Brian, j'adore les WaterTank. il y a deux ans j'avais decide de faire une serie de photos sur les watertank et j'ais passe une grande partie de mes marches dans new york la tete en l'air et j'ais ete surpris il y en a partout et des superbes.
Parcontre que vont-ils devenir ?

Sally said...

Wow, I always learn something when I visit your blog. Nice image!

luggi said...

Another fascinating tutorial! Thanks so much.

John said...

Lovely shot, lovely angle.. well done!

VishDee said...

hey awesome pic....
weve got a similar concept too, pls visit www.cellyourcity.com
and do not forget to leave ur comments,
Cheers

Paula said...

To me, they're neither an icon nor an eyesore. Just a familiar detail of the NYC city-scape and, for some reason, almost the first thing that catches my eye whenever I come back.