Press Releases

Wednesday, July 07, 2004
No. 58


Department Of Environmental Protection To Turn Over 50 Acre Site Of Decommissioned Reservoir To Parks & Recreation

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) First Deputy Commissioner David Tweedy announced that the Ridgewood Reservoir, an old City of Brooklyn water supply complex that has not been used regularly in over 40 years, is being turned over to Parks & Recreation and will be developed as a public park.

“This is a rare opportunity to add a large parcel to the City’s vast network of parks, which is now at over 28,800 acres and counting,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We look forward to restoring the Ridgewood Reservoir so we can return open space to the people of Brooklyn and Queens and create a park that all New Yorkers can enjoy.”

The Reservoir straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens just south of the Jackie Robinson Parkway. The 50-acre property is on the high ground above Highland Park and has commanding views of the park and numerous surrounding green spaces and cemeteries. The Parks Department will evaluate the potential of the land and meet with the community and local elected officials to plan potential uses such as recreational areas, bike and jogging paths.

“Parks and water supply projects have a long and intertwined history in New York City, with the two often existing side-by-side,” said Commissioner Ward. “DEP is very pleased to be able to contribute to City parks in such a way, and we hope that future generations can benefit from this land just as previous generations benefited from the water it held.”

“It’s not everyday that we can celebrate the addition of over 50 acres to our network of City parkland,” said Commissioner Benepe. “We look forward to this land becoming a place for New Yorkers to recreate, relax, and enjoy the outdoors. In the meantime, it will be an informal nature sanctuary.”

The Ridgewood Reservoir remained in regular service until 1959. From 1960 to 1989, the reservoir’s third basin was filled each summer with water from the City’s massive upstate reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains, and used sporadically as a backup supply for parts of Brooklyn and Queens. The entire complex has sat idle since 1990.

Ground was broken for the Ridgewood Reservoir on July 11, 1856 on the site of Snediker’s Cornfield. Water was first raised into the Reservoir on November 18, 1858 by two large pumps each with a capacity of 14 million gallons per-day. Force Tube Avenue on the south side of Highland Park, was named for the high-pressure water mains that once ran under the street.

By 1868 the Ridgewood Reservoir held an average of 154,400,000 gallons daily, enough to supply the City of Brooklyn for ten days at that time. Today, New York City uses around 1.1 billion gallons daily.

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