East Broadway buildings and architecture. Chinatown, New York City.
This is a view of the buildings that line East Broadway in the Two Bridges neighborhood that borders Chinatown and the Lower East Side. I posted a variation of this view a few days ago here: Above Chinatown.
What I love about this view, aside from the girl perched on one of the roof tops on the right in this photo, are the two water towers that sit above the buildings. A water tower is a large elevated drinking water storage container constructed to hold a water supply at a height sufficient to pressurize a water distribution system via hydrostatic pressure.
The usage of roof top water towers dates back to the 19th century when New York City required that all buildings taller than six stories be equipped with roof top water towers. If you look closely at this photo, many of the buildings are shorter than six stories high. If water towers are utilized in buildings lower than six stories, a high pressure situation could occur leading to burst pipes used.
Why aren’t more modern alternatives utilized in this day and age? The answer has to do with public health risks. “Alternatives to water towers are simple pumps mounted on top of the water pipes to increase the water pressure. This new approach is more straightforward, but also more subject to potential public health risks; if the pumps fail, then loss of water pressure will result in potential public health impacts, typically associated with entry of contaminants into the water system.” Source
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