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New York City Watershed Relief Map Presentation
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February 7, 2016: 1:00PM to 2:00PM
The Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Queens, NY 11368 map
To Attend:
To reserve your space or make a donation
A 32 ft by 20 ft 3-dimensional model of New York City’s water system will be on display at the Queens Museum. The wood and plaster model was constructed by the Cartographic Survey Force prior to the 1939 World Fair hosted by New York City in Flushing, Queens. The goal of the model was to display the city’s water system which taps mountain springs as far as 100 miles away, the model was constructed for $100,000, or about $1.5 million in today’s dollars.

Despite the significant financial expense, the model was not displayed at the fair, and instead was put into storage. Some said it was too big, but others said it was to protect New York City’s water system from spies, as the country considered war. It was shown once in 1948 – at the city’s Golden Anniversary Exposition – and then forgotten. In 1991, a DEP architect discovered that the map was stored in the Jerome Avenue Pumping Station (built 1906) when he started to renovate that landmark building. The map — in rough shape after 40 years of neglect — was restored to its former glory in 2006.

You can now see the map for yourself and hear about its story from NYC H2O Director Matt Malina. A question and answer session will follow with Bryan Diffley and Peter DiSpensa, two civil engineers who worked on the water system.

This is a family friendly event. The Queens Museum also has a scale model of the entire city that is not to be missed. This event is free, and a $5 entrance donation to the museum is suggested.

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