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Croton Reservoir Tavern was opened in 2003, only a few blocks from Times Square. The restaurant was named in memory of the nearly forgotten Fortress Reservoir which used to stand in place of the current New York Public Library and Bryant Park.

Featuring a wondrous hand painted 150 sq foot mural of the reservoir in all its glory, dining at the Croton Reservoir Tavern allows you to enjoy a palpable turn of the century New York experience in the heart of Midtown. The tavern’s 50 foot oak bar, brass studded leather chairs, wrought iron railings and leather banquette seating lay the backdrop for warmth and good cheer.

Modern American cuisine and NYC’s most popular drinks are prepared to the highest standard and served with relaxed charm and cheerfully attentive service. Our comfortable and casual atmosphere, vibrant social scene, quality dining and special event hosting has made it one of New York’s most popular venues for dining and private events.

The History

The Croton Distributing Reservoir was an above-ground reservoir at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan completed in 1842. It supplied the city with drinking water during most of the 19th century. The reservoir was a man-made lake 4 acres in area, surrounded by massive, 50-foot high, 25-foot thick granite walls. Its facade was decorated in a vaguely Egyptian style. Along the tops of the walls there 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. In an 1844 edition of the Columbia Spy, Poe wrote, “When you visit Gotham, you should ride out Fifth Avenue, as far as the distributing reservoir, near Forty-third Street, I believe. The prospect from the walk around the reservoir is particularly beautiful. You can see, from this elevation, the north reservoir at Yorkville; the whole city to the Battery; and a large portion of the harbor, and long reaches of the Hudson and East Rivers." The reservoir held a total capacity of 20 million US 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 rain barrels. The aqueduct and reservoir obtained their names from the water's source, a series of mostly underground conduits that brought water from the Croton River in northern Westchester County to NYC's spigots.

The Croton Distributing Reservoir was torn down in the 1890s. Today, the main branch of the New York Public Library and Bryant Park are constructed on the site. 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 it has no longer been in use as a drinking water source.

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