BY JON CRONIN, Editor
After more than 20 years of advocacy, the Ridgewood Reservoir—which was created in 1859—has been placed on the New York State Register of Historic Places.
On Dec. 7, supporters of the initiative, NYC H20 Executive Director Matt Malina and Community Board 5 Parks Committee Chairman Steven Fiedler traveled to Albany to speak with the legislature and successfully campaigned for the reservoir’s place on the state register to be approved in April.
The reservoir is a 50-acre untouched ecology in the Highland Park on the border of Brooklyn and Queens. It was created in 1859 to serve as a water supply for Brooklyn’s growing population and was instrumental in Brooklyn’s consolidation into the city in 1898. It became obsolete when the reservoirs in the Catskills began feeding the city in the 1950s.
When it was almost entirely drained in 1989, nature began to reclaim the area and it was almost turned into parkland before local residents began to speak up.
NYC H20, an advocacy group that educates on city waterways, said that it is an important source of fresh water for migrating birds and called it a “19th century feat of engineering.”
“The Ridgewood Reservoir was an engineering marvel in the 19th century and merits recognition as a landmark in urban history, engineering history and environmental history,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The reservoir offers insight into the environmental history of Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County, and as such is an invaluable opportunity to study nature.”
For the full story, pick up this week’s Queens Tribune.