Taking Their Water for our City — Archaeology of New York City’s Watersheds

NYC has clean water because it comes from pure and rural mountains. However, there is nothing natural about NYC’s water. To create the water system, thousands of people lost homes and businesses, and had to sue the City for compensation. Over the last nine years, Beisaw and her Vassar College students have hiked portions of the city-owned watershed to document the ruins of lives cut short by a distant City. In what was left behind, researchers can begin to estimate the price that rural people paid for providing clean water to City residents. Dr. April M. Beisaw is an associate professor of Anthropology at Vassar College in New York’s Hudson River Valley.