LIFE Magazine Nov 7 1949 on "Underground New York"

Great mid-century article on Underground New York in LIFE magazine of Nov 7, 1949! (pages 80-90.) Thanks very much to Alexis Jones for mentioning this to me. The end of the article-- see final picture caption-- says of "Manhattan subwayfarers" that "they are the foremost troglodytes." Awesome!

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=LlIEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA80&pg=PA81#v=onepage&q&f=false

Daylighting in NYC presentation

A presentation on the potentials for daylighting of historic streams in NYC, with my suggestions for the best sites to consider, that I put together in 2013. Includes in the first section a summary of the most important benefits of daylighting of urban streams, at least in my own analysis.

 

Minetta Brook Research

The results of my attempt to determine exactly where the historic Minetta Brook is today, mapping the sewer network within the historic watershed with GIS. (With Liz Barry.) Below are the graphics from our presentation, and below that is an historical summary.

Below - "Modeling Minetta Brook" - Graphics


Below - "Modeling Minetta Brook" - Paper

Undercity Info Sheet: Sawmill River, Yonkers NY

A one-page info sheet on the Sawmill River in Yonkers, NY

Note-- in the years since I first made up this info sheet, the city of Yonkers has daylighted the final portion of the Sawmill River. It is now the centerpiece of a wonderful little town plaza and city park, with the above-ground stream visible before flowing into the Hudson. (This is Larkin Plaza, right near the Yonkers Metro-North station.)

I made these info sheets originally just as a way to tell people about the old streams and the sewers that have replaced them in NYC. I thought it was funny, for information about old streams that no longer existed, to present it as a flyer for a tour that didn't actually exist either. It was only a few years later than I began to develop actual walking tours where I would take people above-ground along the old routes of these streams. We only walk above-ground, but we peer down a few manhole covers along the way so that we can actually see the water flowing below (which is nowadays a mixture of natural groundwater and combined sewage together).

Undercity Info Sheet: Tibbetts Brook, Bronx, NY

The historic Tibbetts Brook flows from just north of New York City into the Bronx, where part of it has become the lake in Van Cortlandt Park (it was originally a millpond, before the city bought the land to turn into a park). Today it flows into the combined sewer system just south of the park. 

The New York City Parks Department, as well as local groups, have made some suggestions for daylighting this stream so that the significant waterflow it represents will be taken out of NYC's overburdened sewer system. I think that this is both a great idea and also a very realistic idea, as the terrain-- the topography of the landscape, the amount of available land, etc-- make it quite possible to re-create the historic waterway aboveground once again. It will cost a lot of money, of course, but I expect that this is the first significant daylighting project that will be achieved within NYC.

Note - I made these info sheets originally just as a way to tell people about the old streams and the sewers that have replaced them in NYC. I thought it was funny, for information about old streams that no longer existed, to present it as a flyer for a tour that didn't actually exist either. It was only a few years later than I began to develop actual walking tours where I would take people above-ground along the old routes of these streams. We only walk above-ground, but we peer down a few manhole covers along the way so that we can actually see the water flowing below (which is nowadays a mixture of natural groundwater and combined sewage together).

Undercity Info Sheet: Canal St Sewer

A one-page info sheet on the Canal Street Sewer, which was originally an above-ground drainage route leading from the old Collect Pond to the Hudson River. (First a meandering and marshy natural drainage route from the spring-fed Collect Pond; then it became a man-made drainage ditch after European colonists began to reshape the landscape.) 

I made these info sheets originally just as a way to tell people about the old streams and the sewers that have replaced them in NYC. I thought it was funny, for information about old streams that no longer existed, to present it as a flyer for a tour that didn't actually exist either. It was only a few years later than I began to develop actual walking tours where I would take people above-ground along the old routes of these streams. We only walk above-ground, but we peer down a few manhole covers along the way so that we can actually see the water flowing below (which is nowadays a mixture of natural groundwater and combined sewage together).

Undercity Info Sheet: Sunswick Creek

A one-page info sheet on the old Sunsick Creek in Queens, NY, now a mainline sewer.

I made these info sheets originally just as a way to tell people about the old streams and the sewers that have replaced them in NYC. I thought it was funny, for information about old streams that no longer existed, to present it as a flyer for a tour that didn't actually exist either. It was only a few years later than I began to develop actual walking tours where I would take people above-ground along the old routes of these streams. We only walk above-ground, but we peer down a few manhole covers along the way so that we can actually see the water flowing below (which is nowadays a mixture of natural groundwater and combined sewage together).