New York, New York

GU1E9196600 has temporarily transferred its headquarters to Manhattan in order to gain some perspective on East Coast water issues. We may take in a few shows, visit a couple of museums, go to a few nightclubs, eat too much, and spend a lot of money on souvenirs as well. We are committed to posting something brief about New York water every day. We are going to accomplish this by raiding other blogs.

Coincidentally, Sara Bremen of Urban Omnibus recently wrote us about a fascinating hit on what she calls “that quintessential urban summer pastime of playing in the rushing waters of open fire hydrants.”

She graciously guided us to this entry by Adrienne Cortez, whom she describes as “a landscape architect whose work explores themes of urban sustainability and the use of existing infrastructure as a framework for deploying green technologies.” (Notice how we’re letting Sara do all the work here.)

This article in the NY Times prompted Cortez to rethink the practice:

The article provided a shocking statistic: at full power an open hydrant pumps out 1,000 gallons of water a minute. Uncapping, or opening, the local hydrant for relief from the heat had never struck me as anything more than a fun, and totally accepted, urban practice that had been going on for decades.

But that 1,000 gpm figure stuck in my head. And my curiosity eventually led me to develop nyc: uncapped, a study of the common summertime practice, and, in response to those discoveries, an exploration of alternatives.

She decided that it was an incredibly wasteful and, because it lowers the water pressure of surrounding hydrants, a potentially very dangerous practice. Read her imaginative, possibly even workable, proposal for stopping the waste of gargantuan amounts of water while maintaining an important recreational function.


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