New York City’s water is number 31 on Time Out’s recent list of 50 reasons why it’s the greatest city in the world. Tap water? According to the list it’s because the water flows from reservoirs upstate and is almost lead-free, making it one of the country’s best-tasting waters.
Jeffrey Steingarten, the food writer, in his 1991 essay “Water” concurs, claiming that if the water did not have to be treated with chlorine, “it would taste as delicious as anything from a bottle . . .”
In Steingarten’s story of his quest to find the perfect glass of water–one that tastes like it was just drawn from a clear alpine stream–he describes his local tap water:
“My water is piped four miles down Fifth Avenue from Central Park, and after I’ve drunk my fill, it continues all the way downtown. Chlorine is introduced at Ninetieth Street, and because it dissipates as the water travels, enough chlorine must be added uptown so that some is left to disinfect the people on Wall Street, who are probably drinking Perrier anyway. In order that Wall Street may thrive, I must put up with water that tastes less perfect than it should.”
Yesterday afternoon I arrived in New York City with reservations for dinner at an Italian restaurant on East Twentieth. The first thing I ordered was water–not a bottle of the fancy sparkling stuff, but a glass of New York’s finest. Cold, clear, and refreshing with no taste of chlorine, and at a price that can’t be beat– the perfect start to a few days of vacation in the city.