New York City Coney Island On the Hudson

A pleasure dome emerges from the roof of a huge sewage plant

Barges and ferryboats float along one side while automobile traffic skitters by on the other. Just past Grant's Tomb on the Hudson it looms: seven city blocks of arched white concrete with miles of pretzeling pipes and a sprouting of cylindrical smokestacks. This is the North River Water Pollution Control Plant, processor for a billion gallons of sewage a week and a monument in its own right. For decades, pols, bureaucrats and engineers here tangled over how to deal with so many people flushing and washing and whatnot. While they jawed, everything went straight into the Hudson River raw. Now, as...

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