ART OF LIVING l 2
Grows in Brooklyn
hydroinfrastructure. Birds he can take or leave.
Kids climb on playground equipment nearby and a
radio loudly preaches the morning’s sermon. Twenty
feet away, the Q56 bus zooms down Jamaica Avenue,
sounding like a small boy revving an imaginary race car.
As the rangers introduce themselves, the birders, in unison, begin slathering on sunscreen.
“I can’t wait to see the reservoir,” the Queens woman
announces. “I haven’t been here since I was a kid. We
used to come and swim in it. The helicopters would
chase us away.” It isn’t clear if she understands that the
reservoir no longer holds much water. Built for Brooklyn
in 1856, Ridgewood Reservoir occupies a large chunk of
Highland Park. Since being closed and mostly drained in
1989, it has become a lively habitat for birds, frogs, salamanders, plants, and trees. It has also become the site of
an unusual stando=: community residents versus parks.