NEW YORK: How Dry I Am

Ever since 1776, when Manhattan's first reservoir was built on lower Broadway and pipes made of hollow logs were laid in the streets, New York City has been trying to keep ahead of its thirst. At first it was a simple process; though the population jumped from 22,000 to 60,000 in the 25 years after the Revolution, many of the newcomers simply dug their own wells. But as the city mushroomed into a monstrous mechanism of steel, stone and subterranean conduits, it became helplessly dependent on the surrounding country.

Its aqueducts crept out...

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