Saturday, July 05, 2008

NY and the Water

A coauthor told me he follows NY vicariously through my blog. So, let me indulge him (and hopefully others too).

NY is right next to major water bodies. Many in NY don't know that. I don't mean that in a geographical sense, but in a visceral way. NY keeps its water away from daily life. Subways are tubes that snake well under or well over the water bodies and move us from one place to other with no sense of what was between. The bridges are institutions by themselves, so NYers on the road think of them nearly as free standing structures, and will have to be reminded that they are standing on water. Finally, when one thinks of NY, the skyline grabs the psyche and one looks up or level, not downward.

In a deeper sense, NY keeps the water out of the conversation even when one is on the water or looking at it. The main ferries (non-commuter, non-tourist) are free (staten island, governor's island). NY kids can kayak, again free. The city will even put up a waterfall, but hang it under a bridge or tall structures. And finally, on July4th, they will park barges and blast off fireworks, holding all eyes skyward.

3 Comments:

Blogger Vishal Pipraiya said...

That's some excellent insight. Never would have thought about that

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Paul Beame said...

There is another aspect of water in NY that I always think of from our family visits: Water is an almost foreign substance that flows through the wood-housed building-top tanks that dot the city skyline (as in the classic New Yorker cover).

The tap water in NYC is amazingly soft and pure, brought in from lakes in distant parts of NY state. The water is so soft that washing in it feels silky to the touch. This is an everyday luxury that almost no other place, either urban or rural, can match.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear paul: thank you for the odes to the rooftop tanks and the tap waters of NY!
-- metoo

3:58 PM  

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