by Cy A Adler
In June Mayor Bill de Blasio gave a talk at our local Democratic Club, (TPID). I asked him to help place a drinking fountain on the Broadway Mall at 96th Street.
He said, “That’s a good idea. How do we do it?” I said, “I don’ know.”
In May I attended a Sierra Club meeting on water issues. One of the speakers, Lucy Robson from New Yorkers 4 Parks, spoke about drinking fountains (DFs) in parks. This was a subject about which I knew little,except that DFs are wonderful and lifesaving when one is hot and thirsty. Lucy gave a history of drinking fountains showed pictures of fountains in various cities – including NYC. Her talk caused me to wonder why some parks have lots of DFs, while others have none. I asked Lucy why, she said, “I don’t know.”
Water in all its aspects has always fascinated me. The US Patent office issued me a patent on an ocean wave measuring device. In 1982 I formed an organization called Shorewalkers to walk along water. We explored over a thousand miles of waterfronts in and around New York City.
A beautiful skinny park called the Broadway Mall runs through my neighborhood, north of 72nd street in the middle of Broadway. It has no DFs.
Why we don’t have a drinking fountain at 96th Street and Broadway where there is lots of room for one and where thousands of people pass every day, puzzled me.
Water is available from a nearby brick building on the Mall which once was a public toilet. Now used by the West Side Arts Coalition, the building has a working WC. ( PHOTO)
People with whom I spoke agreed that a DF was a good idea, but they had no idea of how to get one. In May, 2017 I proposed Community Board 7-Parks Committee consider a DF at 96th Street. My proposal was ignored….
What to do? I organized FODF-FRIENDS OF THE DRINKING FOUNTAIN at 96 Street on the Broadway Park Mall.
My NY State Assemblyman Dan O’Donnell suggested contacting the NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchel Silver. This seemed like a sensible idea since Silver probably had jurisdiction over the Broadway Park Mall. On 2nd June, I emailed Commissioner Silver and asked his help FODF get a drinking fountain on the Park Mall at 96th Street.
At the 14th June TPID meeting, I asked help from Club members, and from New York City Councilman Mark Levine, who is the Parks Chair. He asked ‘How much would it cost? ’ I said “I don’t know.”
Friends and politicians in a variety of organizations such as SHOREWALKERS, SIERRA CLUB, NY4P, BMA, CB-7, BP-Manhattan, WSAC, NYCC, NYSA… were helpful. Some contacted Silver re installing a drinking fountain.
On 30th June, Steve Simon, chief of staff, Manhattan NYC Parks, emailed me. He wrote that Commissioner Silver had asked him to respond to my email suggesting that we install a drinking fountain at the Broadway Mall. He wrote: “As a matter of policy, we do not install drinking fountain on any of our malls. We place them near active recreation areas in parks…”
In response we sent a letter to Messrs. Steve Simon and Mitchel Silver:
“Thank you for your reply… Water is essential to life, and a blessing when one is thirsty. It seems unhealthy to deprive citizens of water fountains in NYC malls.”
- Re: the ‘policy’ forbidding placing drinking fountains on park malls,
is there any reason this ‘policy’ cannot be upgraded?
There are two identical water fountains five feet from each other
in Central Park near the entrance at West 93rd Street.(photo)
How much would it cost to move one of these fountains
to the Mall at West 96th Street?
Would you help or hinder a kindly benefactor who wished
to donate a fountain for the Park Mall at West 96th Street?
Thank you and cheers,
Cy A Adler Chairman FODF: FRIENDS OF the DRINKING FOUNTAIN
On 16th July, on a walk along the Rockaway Park boardwalk, I noticed dozens and dozens of new, neat water fountains. See pix below. Why none on Broadway?
If anyone who reads this plea for live-giving water on Broadway can help,
please join FODF. Send us your suggestions. Will we ever get a drinking fountain on the Mall at 96th street? “I don’t know.”
(P.S. Send an email and ask Steve Simon <Steve.Simon@parks.nyc.gov> .
Send us a CC at firstname.lastname@example.org.)