NYC’s DEP Sells Us Our Own Water


Much better — and freer — than bottled water

We’ve heard of pop-up restaurants, and pop-up markets, and pop-up cocktail lounges in old men’s bars, but pop-up drinking fountains?

Be careful not to touch your face to the cheek guard, as this guy is doing.

Yet that is exactly what the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has done. If you happened to pass the southeast corner of Union Square yesterday, you might have seen it — a multi-spigot drinking fountain that looks like it might have been ripped from the wall of an elementary school. The thing is attached via white hose to a fire plug, and if you ever wondered if the water from a hydrant is fit to drink, here’s your answer. Or maybe not.

The DEP’s website gives the complicated schedule for the thing, and if you’re the type of person who’ll run to grab anything that’s free, we urge you to bookmark this calendar. On the other hand, city water is free all the time, isn’t it?

An attendant watches the installation carefully, perhaps to make sure you don’t stop up a spigot with your used chewing gum, so that the water squirts the next user in the face. Well, something like that happened as I watched. A guy with a banana on his shirt bent over and turned the knob — and a stream of water shot straight up and then down, hitting a dude on the other side of the sink in his necktie. Soon a small crowd gathered, just waiting to see who’d be hit next.

Hey, DEP — for your next project how about some public restrooms?

Don’t look at me! The guy with the banana did it!