Photo via Flickr cc
One of the most distinctive architectural features of New York City buildings is their water towers. Many New Yorkers assume these towers are a relic of another era—a time when people did store water in wooden barrels. In fact, nearly all of the city’s wooden water towers are still in use, and many are newer than one might expect. If a building is actually following city guidelines, their water tower should be no more than three decades old. Unfortunately, compliance is an ongoing problem when it comes to water tower inspections and maintenance. In fact, many of the city’s charming water towers aren’t so charming when you take a look inside the barrel.
Everything you need to know
Photo via Ted McGrath on Flickr
Thousands of wooden water tanks in New York City have not been properly inspected and cleaned for years, according to an investigation by City & State. And while the water towers have been an iconic part of the city skyline for over a century, the structures make it easy for pathogens and even dead animals to congregate and infiltrate the city’s drinking water. According to the report, most building owners do not inspect and clean water tanks on a regular basis, despite newly updated health codes that require annual filings. City & State mapped more than 13,000 water tank inspection reports from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), letting the public know for the first time if and when a building’s tank has been inspected and whether bacteria was found. Last year, just over 3,520 buildings with water tanks filed proof of inspection.
Has your building’s water tank been inspected?
Now that we’re in the dog days of summer, nothing looks more appealing than a spacious, well-designed roof deck that just happens to have a water tower perched above it. That’s the case at this Midtown West condo at 40 West 55th Street, now on the market for $2.5 million. The one-bedroom penthouse is literally surrounded on four sides by an outdoor space lined with greenery. Inside, a skylight and southern, western and northern exposures that look out onto the lush terrace result in a modern, bright interior.
Go inside the apartment
Photo courtesy of Ted McGrath on Flickr
For over 100 years, water towers have been a seamless part of New York City’s skyline. So seamless, in fact, they often go unnoticed, usually overshadowed by their glassy supertall neighbors. While these wooden relics look like a thing of the past, the same type of water pumping structure continues to be built today, originating from just three family-run companies, two of which have been operating for nearly this entire century-long history. With up to 17,000 water tanks scattered throughout NYC, 6sqft decided to explore these icons, from their history and construction to modern projects that are bringing the structures into the mainstream.
Everything you need to know