A small lake, a natural wetlands, a forest, and dozens of species of birds: this is not the typical New York that people picture. But it’s exactly what the Ridgewood Reservoir in Queens offers.
The reservoir water that remains is the remnant of what was once three individual basins used for drinking water supplies in 19th-century Brooklyn and Queens.
Today, the small lake is surrounded by a forest and natural wetlands that evolved naturally and is unique to New York in many ways. Dozens of species of birds make their home here that can’t be found anywhere else in the city, for example.
A paved walking path circles around the forest and reservoir, though unfortunately much of the land inside that path is fenced off from the public. Local officials and activists are currently locked in a battle over the reservoir’s future. Mayor Bloomberg and city parks officials want to drain the basin and develop the land into more active recreational facilities, including baseball fields, while many residents say the reservoir and its trails are a welcome respite from city life.
For now, the Ridgewood Reservoir, officially part of the larger Highland Park, is still welcoming visitors. Check out this hidden gem for birdwatching, peaceful hiking, and beautiful forest and fields in the heart of a bustling city!