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About The High Bridge Water Tower

This graceful water tower, located in Manhattan’s Highbridge Park at 174th  Street, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been a visual landmark on the heights of Manhattan overlooking the Harlem River since 1872. The tower was not part of the original Croton Aqueduct. It was added to serve the growing number of residents in the villages of north Manhattan, which were at an elevation higher than the Croton Aqueduct.

How it worked. After water from the Aqueduct crossed the High Bridge, it was pumped up to a seven-acre, 10.8-million-gallon reservoir next to the tower. The Highbridge Pool was built inside the old reservoir in 1936. The water tank in the tower served the small number of customers at an even higher elevation. Extending up the 185-foot height of the octagonal granite tower are two iron pipes that reached to a 47,000-gallon tank, now gone. The water was pumped up one pipe to the tank, and flowed down the other.

Visiting the tower. The Parks Department’s Urban Park Rangers lead public tours of High Bridge Water Tower. Visitors see a beautiful interior space, faced in red brick contrasting with black pipes and a lacy, spiral iron staircase. At the top are rare views in all directions.

For a tour schedule, call the Rangers at 212-304-2365, or visit www.northmanhattanparks.org. No tour is necessary to stand on Water Tower Terrace (173rd St. and Amsterdam Avenue in Highbridge Park), where one can see the tower’s massive exterior close-up, view an illustrated interpretive plaque, and look down directly onto the deck of the High Bridge.