Session7 : Tunnel No.3 Site Observation

To observe invisible infrastructure is one of the most challenging question for the project. Obviously, it is because physical structures are hidden more than 300 feet below ground surface in the Manhattan’s bedrock layer. However, there are 30 vertical shafts where are the access to this mysterious tunnel No.3, some of them also facilitate Riser Valve Chamber and Control Chamber. According to the article in The New York Times on May 15, 1994, they posted the map of New York City with 30 specific locations in Manhattan, Bronx, Queen, and Brooklyn. From this point, the map was allowed us reach to ground accesses, in my case, I personally looked 11B Amsterdam Avenue and 120th street. At the first glance, it looks like generic junction without any sight of the big construction as it is in 59th, so I was trying to search for some clue or trace that can identify existence of the suspicious shaft. The first thing that came to my mind is that, there are numbers of manhole on every Conner of this junction, some conner located four to five manhole, most of them are labeled “WSNY”- Water Supply New York which we found the same label coexist on 59th site too. Second clue is the huge construction trace on street surface on the northeast conner, its size suggests me that it was opened up for distributing digging machine to construct the tunnel.


Since we noticed invisibility from site observation so, we decide to dig down information from texts or reports those exists somewhere. Fortunately, by connecting to Cooper Union student, we have a chance to get the permission to Cooper Union Library archive where we found relevant reports of Tunnel No.3, Imperiled Lifeline, Prospects and Problems for New York’s City Water Tunnel No.3. Inside this report, there are many action plan, details and evaluation that had been done in 1982, even though, it doesn’t contain enough accurate and precise map or drawing to specify the line of the tunnel locationally. Anyway, the report contains valuable information for the next step of our research.


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