Patrick Marini

luglio 17, 2006

Water tanks

Filed under: New York — π@3κ @ 7:13 pm

watertank2 1982

To most New Yorkers, water tanks appear to be anachronisms-quaint towers settled among the citys cubes and slick structures. They are certainly a reminder of a more gentle architectural period in our environs, but even today these towers still serve some necessary and life-saving purposes. In case of a burning building, they feed water into the sprinkler and standpipe systems, allowing firemen safe exit from the building; they can also supply drinking and washing water.
Usually made of redwood, a natural insulator, or occasionally of metal, these 5,000 to 25,000 gallon towers have been a visible part of the Manhattan skyline since the 1900s. In fact, when Francis Ford Coppola was shooting the movie Godfather II on East 6th Street, he had his stagehands construct a false tank of masonite atop one of the streets tenements to give it a more realistic New York feeling.
Because water pressure can only rise so high in most buildings and apartment houses, the water from the city main is pumped into the water tank by means of a pump activated by a float switch whenever the water is down one-third of its total supply.
Tanks are found on almost all buildings over seven stories (some have pumps and pressure tanks built in the basement or on various floors) and if they’re not always visible to the naked eye, its only because of the elaborate boxes and battlements that architects sometimes construct around them in a losing effort to disguise them.

Manhattan – Abrams, Chris Casson Madden – 1981


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