What once provided water for Brooklyn, now delivers peace and quiet for New Yorkers, and a habitat for a variety of wildlife.
It’s the Ridgewood Reservoir, which sits on the Brooklyn-Queens Border at Highland Park. The East Causeway of the reservoir, with its original fencing from 1858, is now open weekends thanks to the work of the Parks Department and not-for-profit environmental education group NYC H20.
"We bring students and families and community groups out to natural places like the beautiful Ridgewood Reservoir to teach about nature, water ecology and the water system, and to give people an appreciation for it and why they should care about it,” said Matt Malina, the executive director and founder of NYC H2O.
Fed by 13 reservoirs reaching out east through Queens and Nassau Counties, the reservoir was built in 1858 to provide the then city of Brooklyn with water. It provided water for 100 years, and was last used in the 1960s when it was drained. Two of the basins have become forests again, the middle basin a freshwater pond.
"It's home to ducks, dragon flies and other birds and there are also dozens of species of birds that come through on their spring and fall migrations,” said Malina, who also noted that if you look closely there are even Italian Wall Lizards that call the area home.
Here's hoping that the initial 're-imagining" plans to build a waterslide and performance space got thrown in the garbage.