In conjunction with the current Community Partnership Exhibition Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century situated around the historic Watershed Model at the Queens Museum, we are pleased to host Inspiring Change: Ridgewood Reservoir, a panel discussion on the future of this historic reservoir, moderated by architect, author, and urban designer Gina Pollara, presented by NYC H2O. The invited panelists are Portia Dyrenforth, Forest and Highland Park Administrator, Darma Diaz, City Council Member, Robin Lynn, urban historian, David Chuchuca, Assistant Director NYC H2O, and David Cunningham, architect. The panel will be followed by Q&A with attendees.
Ridgewood Reservoir is part of the 100-acre Highland Park on the Brooklyn/Queens border managed by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. The three reservoir basins built in 1858 held the water supply for the growing metropolis of 19th and early 20th century Brooklyn.
Today the reservoir, the extant machinery to operate its distribution system, and the walkways between the basins have preservation status on the National Historic Register, part of the U.S. Department of Interior. The parkland itself is protected by wetlands listing by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The park is well used despite the lack of public transit access and both the Parks Department and NYC H2O have done significant work to clear areas of overgrown brush, provide walking paths, and to create recreational ballfields. Still, the basins, two of which were drained decades ago and comprise over 37 acres, are among the greatest unused inaccessible natural-protected spaces in the city.
What lies ahead? Could there be walkways through the forested basins? A visitor’s center to explain and explore the timely topic of infrastructure? Year-round bathrooms? Accessibility by public transit? Join the discussion, presented in partnership with the Queens Museum as part of the exhibit Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century currently on view until July 31, 2021.
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