The city is rife with subtle and strange cues to the complexity that lies beneath our feet and that came before our time, the barely visible mysteries of the landscape we inhabit. Photographer Stanley Greenberg is especially attuned to these. A lifelong New Yorker and erstwhile city employee, he knows New York upside and down, from the newest pipeline to the last remaining Dutch farmhouse. Lately, Greenberg is pursuing an interest in the structures that are grafted into the urban landscape and how they deform it. In the new series, Underexposed, we accompany Greenberg along the myriad paths of the city’s infrastructural networks, as he traces lines of water, gas, and freight transport in great breadth and close detail. -M.M.
19th century New Yorkers thought the Croton water supply would last forever, but by the 1880s it was clear that a larger supply was needed. Planners eventually settled on the Catskills as a source, and built the Catskill aqueduct to take water to the Kensico and Hillview reservoirs and then to the city via tunnels. City Tunnel No. 1, completed in 1917, extends the Catskill Aqueduct, traveling from the Bronx to Manhattan and then to Brooklyn, where it ends under Fort Greene Park, not far from the site of this shaft. A much more impressive structure was built on the Manhattan side, where a mechanism allowed for workers to descend to the tunnel to turn off the water to Brooklyn. Never used, it was destroyed in the early 2000s.
The street grid was disrupted to add an entrance to the Manhattan Bridge near Sands Street, but the shaft remains, unnoticed between street and highway ramp.