Posts Tagged ‘New York City water fountains’

“Ho every one that thirsteth”

October 20, 2008

As inscribed on the water fountain/wash bowl on the facade of East 14th Street’s Gothic-style Immaculate Conception Church, built in 1896.

The phrase comes from the Old Testament: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”


Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the fountain works, and the basin was filled with trash last week when the photo was taken. Still, the words are inspiring, and how many fish spouts do you see in the city?

City drinking fountains: their germ-magnet past

September 13, 2008

This 1913 photo shows a boy at a public water fountain in Madison Square Park; he’s drinking from a common cup attached to a chain. Of course, no one today would ever drink from the same cup thousands of strangers also put their lips on. But back then, in pre-germ-awareness times, not everyone realized how unsanitary it was.

Yet public health experts were beginning to realize that the shared cup was a big disease transfer method and had to be eliminated. In 1911, city officials announced that they were changing all the school drinking fountains so that a common cup wasn’t required. Communal cups were eventually banned in all public fountains.