Earlier this month, the New York State Historic Review Board voted unanimously to add the Ridgewood Reservoir to the New York State Register of Historic Places. By next April, the National Park Service is expected to approve the move.
Matt Malina, executive director of NYC H2O, a nonprofit providing education programs on the city’s water system and ecology, wrote the application for the reservoir. He testified at the December hearing that the reservoir is a “cultural and ecological treasure to be discovered by generations to come.”
“In the course of bringing a new generation of New Yorkers to visit and experience the site, we realized that we had become stakeholders in advocating for its preservation,” Malina said.
The Ridgewood Reservoir is a 50-acre site that borders Queens and Brooklyn. Built in 1859 to supply water for the city of Brooklyn, it’s located today within Highland Park.
The reservoir became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950s. It was mostly drained by 1989.
“The reservoir is a piece of living history that transcends generations of New Yorkers,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.
The naming of the site to the Register of Historic Places received support from both Queens and Brooklyn borough presidents, state legislators and the Brooklyn chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Rob Jett, a community organizer with the Friends of Ridgewood Reservoir, said the value of preservation should have been “plainly obvious to anyone visiting it.”
“The recent recognition as a historically significant site confirms what so many people believed for so long,” he said.