Programs/ Ridgewood Reservoir / RR for the 21st century

Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century

Returning to Nature: Ridgewood Reservoir 
Video by Paul Tucker

In 1858, The Ridgewood Reservoir was built on the Brooklyn-Queens border to hold the fresh water supply for the once independent City of Brooklyn. Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century traces the 160-year transformation of the site from the construction of its three water basins to its invaluable role today as a 50 acre open space in Highland Park, a green oasis allowing for close encounters with nature.

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Originally curated for the Queens Museum, the exhibition was to open there on April 5 and run until August 16, 2020. Yet within 24 hours of installing it, the Queens Museum had to shut its doors due to COVID-19 precautions. While we wait for the institution to re-open, please enjoy these virtual galleries from the comfort of your home! The actual exhibition, situated around the Museum’s historic Watershed Model, includes photographs, maps, historic ephemera, and documentation of the past four years of NYC H2O’s stewardship and advocacy work which has led to the historic and environmental protection and preservation of the site. This exhibition is presented as part of Queens Museum’s Community Partnership Exhibition Program, which provides opportunities for cultural and other nonprofit organizational partners to develop and mount short-term exhibitions based on their programs and our collaborative projects.


Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century is generously supported by Peter M. Frishauf, KC Rice, Alex and Paul Herzan, and Patagonia. NYC H2O programs are made possible by New York City Council Members Robert Holden and Antonio Reynoso, and New York State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi.
Conduit Blvd, aluminum street sign; Water to the Ridgewood Reservoir ran beneath Conduit Boulevard through a 12-mile-long masonry conduit from collection ponds in Queens and Nassau County. Built in the early 20th century, the boulevard followed the aqueduct’s right-of-way. From left to right: Peter Frishauf (NYC H2O Board President), Matt Malina (Director), and David Chuchuca (Assistant Director)

Thank you to the many individuals and institutions who worked with NYC H2O to conceptualize, create and install Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st century @ Queens Museum. We look forward to with sharing the exhibition with you when the museum can reopen. 

Robin Lynn and Matt Malina, co-curators 

NYC H2O staff, volunteers and board
Matt Malina, Founder and Director
Peter Frishauf, Board Chair
Robin Lynn, urban historian; co-author, Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes
Elissa Sampson, Board Member
David Chuchuca, Assistant Director
Adam Abadi, writer, Queens Museum proposal
Arnie Malina, editor
Elana Rinsler, installer, virtual exhibition
Jonathan Turer, writer, Queens Museum proposal

Queens Museum
Brian Balderston, Exhibitions Production Manager 
Catherine Grau, Public Programs Coordinator
Hitomi Iwasaki, Director of Exhibitions and Curator
Sophia Marisa Lucas, Assistant Curator
Kathryn Refi, Installer

For their time, objects, ideas and services:
Jonathan Atkin, photographer, ShipShooter
Jim Braden, Duggal Visual Solutions
Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection
Brendan Clinch, photographer
dcap, David Cunningham Architecture and Planning
Daniele Frazier, artist
Riccardo Gomes, East New York Project
Jeffrey Kroessler, historian
Dominic Mensah, graphic designer
Michael Miscione, historian
Museum of the City of New York
Steven Nanz, photographer
NYC Department of Environment Protection, Mark Sacha
Aaron Strauss, exhibition designer
Paul C. Tucker, videographer

For an informative interview with Matt Malina, and more information on Ridgewood Reservoir for the 21st Century, read “Saving Water” by Joshua McWhiter, Urban Omnibus, April 8, 2020.