The Upper West Side – The classic NYC “Water Tower”

Wooden water towers NYC - Upper West SideSometimes when trying to show off the character of a neighborhood, I pick an unusual focal point that is a bit “outside the box”.  I took this photo at dusk about  a week ago and the reason I like it so much is that it really is soooooo NYC.  It shows a roof top garden  (so typical of the Upper West Side) beneath an iconic wooden water tower.  The helicopter that happened to be flying by leaving a red light trail was an added bonus – though I admit to hustling to get that extra piece of NYC life into the photo before it disappeared from the frame.  The twilight photography added to the allover impact of a city that is always lit up and never truly sleeps.

These water towers dot the landscape of NYC and have an interesting history. Snapping the photo prompted me to do a bit of “Google Research” and Wikapedia came to my rescue.  They have their origins in the 19th century when all buildings over six stories in height were required to have a water tower because the pressure necessary on lower floors to get the water to the top floors could burst pipes.  The original towers were actually made by “barrel makers” who were “expanding” their businesses to this new lucrative market in a city that was growing vertically.  To this day, the wooden water tower model is still in use and are produced by two local businesses that are family run and have been in existence since the 19th century.  So when you look at one of those wooden water towers, you are looking at a successful family-owned local business!

In the real estate industry,  agents are always trying to “brand themselves”  by introducing local color.  This type of photography helps define neighborhoods by given subtle hints of local color.  This is  why one photo is often worth 1000 words…


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