Speechless Sunday, Leaking Water Tower

Real Estate Agent with Compass

Water Tower Leaking

In the 1800s, New York City required that all buildings higher than six stories be equipped with a rooftop water tower. This was necessary to prevent the need for excessively high pressures at lower elevations, which could burst pipes. Today the towers have become fashionable in some circles. As of 2006, the neighborhood of Tribeca requires water towers on all buildings, whether or not they are being used.


iPhone Photo Courtesy of: Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker, The Corcoran Group


©Mitchell Hall 2009

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Courtney Cooper
Ben Kinney Brokerages Leadership at our Keller Williams North Seattle Office - Seattle, WA

Mitchell - that is cool.  How old is that building?  I look forward to reading more - my teenager is looking at NYU:)

Oct 11, 2009 10:26 AM #1
Richard T. Dolbeare
Keller Williams Realty Maui - Kahului, HI
R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist

Now that's an interesting tidbit.  The one in the photo looks like it could have been a wine barrell in a former life.

Oct 11, 2009 10:30 AM #2
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Hi Mitchell,

This is way interesting! I'd also like to know how old is this building?


Oct 11, 2009 10:33 AM #3
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Hi Courtney, 

Thanks, that building is 100 years old. NYU is a great school and in a great hip neighborhood Greenwich Village.

Here is a post I did about NYU a while ago. NYU owns a lot of real estate. They buy apartment buildings and turn them into dorms.



Oct 11, 2009 10:45 AM #4
Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

Wow.  Now that is an interesting tidbit.  But truly that one seem to be leaking.

Oct 11, 2009 10:53 AM #5
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Mitchell..I wonder how long it will take to get fixed??  It certainly would interfere with my long hot baths if i lived there//LOL

HELPFULHANNAH your friend in Philadelphia

Oct 11, 2009 10:58 AM #6
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Now thats a fascinating bit of trivia! :-)

Oct 11, 2009 11:01 AM #7
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Richard, You're right. The original water tower builders were barrel makers who expanded their craft to meet a modern need as buildings in the city grew taller in height.

Dorie, It's hard to see in the picture but I was walking by earlier and I saw people looking up. The water was leaking out the bottom of the barrel. The architectural style is early 20th century. Every decade or so had a distinct style. Now they build all glass. My favorite is the 1930's Art Deco.

Oct 11, 2009 11:06 AM #8
Mitchell J Hall
Compass - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Tim, It looked like someone poked holes in the bottom of the barrel.

Hannah, LOL. In most of the country washer/dryers are taken for granted. In Manhattan they are a luxury amenity. Many pre-war buildings do not allow them because of the water pressure getting up to a high floor. You can pay over $3 million dollars for an apartment but you can't have a washer/dryer.

Liz, Thanks I love trivia.

Oct 11, 2009 11:23 AM #9
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Mitchell, it looks like the tower is about to fly off the roof altogether!  Look out below!  And check out the Week in Review.

Oct 11, 2009 04:01 PM #10
Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes

Hi Mitchell, That's really interesting. I had not heard of that. I'll have to notice that next time I am up there in your neck of the woods.

Oct 11, 2009 04:13 PM #11
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor


Thanks for that bit of history. I'm thinking that would make quite a mess if it toppled or burst. :)


Oct 12, 2009 04:10 PM #12
Konnie Mac McCarthy
MacNificent Properties, LLC - Cobb Island, MD
Broker/Owner - VA & MD "Time To Get A Move On!"

Very cool...love the architecture of this building also.. Washington D.C. has architecture like this.. beautiful

Oct 19, 2009 12:51 PM #13
Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

wow, i never knew that they were required or that they were actually considered part of the architecture now.  Interesting stuff.

Oct 23, 2009 04:49 PM #14
Liz Flint
Century 21 Hardee-Team Realty - Houston, TX
Houston\Tomball Realtor (832)816-8066

Hi Mitchell, nice picture and good information.  Thanks.

Jan 18, 2010 09:08 AM #15
Debi Braulik
www.roundrealestate.com - Maple Valley, WA
Selling Maple Valley to Fife WA Homes For Sale

Are these old ones still in use or are they just decoration at this point?

Jan 31, 2010 08:10 AM #16
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Mitchell J Hall

Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
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