Croton Distributing Reservoir

The Croton Distributing Reservoir, also known as the Murray Hill Reservoir, was an above-ground reservoir at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It supplied the city with drinking water during the 19th century. The reservoir was a man-made lake 4 acres (16,000 m2) in area, surrounded by massive, 50-foot (15 m) high, 25-foot (7.6 m) thick granite walls. Its facade was done in a vaguely Egyptian style. Along the tops of the walls were public promenades, offering breathtaking views. After construction was completed, it became a popular place to go strolling for residents of New York City; Edgar Allan Poe enjoyed his walks at this location. The reservoir held a total capacity of 20 million gallons.

When established, the Croton Aqueduct was once NYC's foremost water source. Amidst great fanfare, water was introduced into the Croton Distributing Reservoir on July 4, 1842. Prior to construction of the aqueduct, water was obtained from cisterns, wells and barrels from rain. The aqueduct and reservoir obtained their names from the water's source, a series of mostly underground conduits that would bring water from the Croton River in northern Westchester County to NYC's spigots.

The Croton Distributing Reservoir was torn down at the end of the century; in the 1890s. Today, the main branch of the New York Public Library and Bryant Park exist at that location. Some of the reservoir's original foundation can still be found in the South Court at the New York Public Library. Today water is primarily supplied to New York City via its three city water tunnels. The Central Park Reservoir still remains, but since 1993 has no longer been in use.

Subway commuters can see a historical plaque showing the former reservoir. The plaque is located on the wall in the underground passageway that connects the Fifth Avenue Station of the IRT #7 and 42nd Street Station on the IND Sixth Avenue Line. A few years before the reservoir was torn down, there were two tablets affixed to the Reservoir. The inscription was:

The second tablet stated: