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May 27, 2008

Fishing in the Basements of Manhattan Buildings [dri]

Bumped, in case you missed it. I love this sort of thing. [ace]

...

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Iíve heard of people fishing in the ocean, people fishing in lakes and rivers and on a solid sheet of ice. Iíve even heard of people fishing for compliments but I have never heard of people fishing in the basements of buildings beneath the streets of Mid-town Manhattan
Ö until today.

It seems that the many rivers and streams that flowed through Manhattan before it was turned into a vast concrete jungle could not simply be paved over. Those waterways had to be diverted and channeled underneath the buildings that now tower above them.

We had a lantern to pierce the cellar darkness and fifteen feet below I clearly saw the stream bubbling and pushing about, five feet wide and upon its either side, dark green mossed rocks. This lively riverlet was revealed to us exactly as it must have appeared to a Manhattan Indian many years ago.
I'm led down into the basement of a red brick tenement building on E. 13th Street. I step into a large room, that smells vaguely of water Ė and six men are sitting around an opening in the floor, holding fishing poles in the darkness.

This is not an urban legend. Even the New York Times tells of a fishing hole in the basement of a mid-town commercial building:

Jack Gasnick, reminisces about the day 15 or so years before, when he caught (and later ate) an almost-three-pound carp in the basement of his hardware supply house at Second Avenue and 53rd Street.

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posted by xgenghisx at 02:10 PM

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