Schodack Brook, West Hempstead

Having written previously about Pine Stream and Mill River that flow through the suburban community of West Hempstead, there is a third hidden waterway here that begins its course alongside a train station that may have been named after this stream, or perhaps not.

This very obscure stream appears on the surface in a ravine next to the Lakeview station on the West Hempstead Branch, looking south from Eagle Avenue, which crosses this single-track line at the source of the stream. The sources of this stream have been paved over and developed as tract homes marched across this landscape of gardens and farms. Water appears here only after a substantial rainfall. Lakeview is not an official village, and most letters addressed to this community have it as part of West Hempstead, itself not an official village but part of the larger town of Hempstead. So the question here is whether Lakeview is named for a long-forgotten pond on Schodack Brook, or the much larger Hempstead Lake that is a ten-minute walk east of this station?

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Glen Cove Creek, Glen Cove

On Long Island, there are various units of local government: villages, towns, and cities. A town can have more people than a city. These are merely legal designations bestowed by the state to describe the responsibilities of a municipality. Cities tend to have more say in their governance, and control over schools and utilities. One such city is Glen Cove, built at the head of an inlet on Hempstead Bay in 1668. That inlet is Glen Cove Creek, fed by a stream that originates further inland. In the downtown of Glen Cove that stream is hidden beneath a parking lot.

In recent years plans have been made to transform the tidal section of the creek into an upscale residential district, but the underground section remains hidden from the attention of urban planners. The creek has a boxy ferry terminal with a sail-shaped window that seeks to offer future commuter service to Manhattan and Connecticut.

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Mill River, Springfield Mass.

The largest city in the western third of Massachusetts has one of the most common names among American places: Springfield, and much of its history is the result of a stream with a very generic name: Mill River. This Springfield happens to be the first in the country to have this name, although I’m not as sure about Mill River.

Springfield Announces Repairs To 'High Hazard' Dam | WAMC

The water of this stream powered the country’s first great armory and other industries that developed the economy of New England in the 19th and 20th centuries. This river’s reservoir, dams, and course have been subject to more than two centuries of pollution and neglect, but there is also potential for this stream to serve as a green corridor connecting the city’s interior to its waterfront.

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Hidden Waters of Manhasset

In F. Scott FitzGerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby, West Egg is the pseudonym for Great Neck and the much more upscale peninsula facing it is East Egg, which in reality is Manhasset, a collection of villages jutting into the Long Island Sound. hidden behind the mansions are brooks and ponds whose names relate to past landowners and their once-sizable estates overlooking Manhasset Bay.

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The Leeds Pond Preserve, originally built as the Norwood farm and owned by the Sizer family, was purchased by Herman Goldman, a prominent maritime attorney and tax expert, as a retreat to entertain friends and family.

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Varnichny Creek, Murmansk

What does the French region of Normandy have in common with Russia’s largest arctic city? Both are named after the Norsemen, an old English term for the Vikings whose extensive trading networks stretched across Europe’s coasts and waterways. Murmansk is also the last city commissioned by Russia’s imperial government, three months shy of the Tsar Nikolai II’s abdication.

Фото: Николай Хлабыстин

Varnichny Creek is a hidden waterway of this far-north city, once a habitat rich with fish that is today heavily polluted with most of its course channelled beneath the city’s surface. The above image is a neglected pedestrian bridge in the October district of the city, where the creek flows in a ravine.

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Hidden Waters of Great Neck, NY

Across the city line from the Queens neighborhood of Little Neck is the Great Neck peninsula of Nassau County. The name Great Neck includes the Village of Great Neck, eight other villages, and a handful of communities that share an upscale appearance with plenty of woodland and backyard space where hidden waters flow between the properties. Each stream has its own history that relates to the story of Great Neck.

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In particular, one unnamed creek flows a couple of blocks from my uncle’s house and after a few visits, I followed it from its source to the sea.

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Bubbly Creek, Chicago

For the Midwestern metropolis of Chicago, the city’s face is the shore of Lake Michigan, an inland sea lined with freshwater beaches within walking distance of downtown skyscrapers. Chicago’s namesake river used to flow into Lake Michigan but by 1900 was carved into a canal and had its flow reversed, taking water out of the lake, flowing southwest in a series of canals that fed into the Mississippi watershed.

One reason for this massive engineering project was the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, better known as Bubbly Creek. Subject to pollution coming from the country’s largest stockyard, this hidden waterway is Chicago’s version of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. The above photo shows the rail bridge carrying the Heritage Corridor commuter line across the creek.

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Huerva, Zaragoza

The first emperor of the Roman Empire is eternally honored with the eighth month on the calendar, but that’s not all. In the Spanish region of Aragon, the city of Zaragoza derives its name from Ceasaraugusta, a spot on the map in memory of Augustus Caesar. The city’s main river is the Ebro, which flows for 580 miles across Spain. Beneath the city’s boulevards is a tributary stream, the Huerva that briefly experienced sunlight in 2010 before it was covered up again in favor of a linear park.

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The height of the tunnel raises possibilities of underground tours here, and its narrow width also begs the question whether this stream can be daylighted after nearly a century of darkness.

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Moxlie Creek, Olympia

The west coast of North America between the Alaskan panhandle and the state of Washington is lined with fjords and inlets that enable ships to avoid the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. The southernmost of these waterways is Puget Sound, and at its southern tip is Olympia, capital city of Washington state. Two streams, Deschutes River, and Moxlie Creek flow into the southern reach of Puget Sound. The latter flows partially beneath the city’s streets.

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The city has a visible environmental movement whose goals include the restoration of Moxlie Creek to the surface, but with so much development atop its buried course it’s not an easy proposition. One hint of the creek’s presence is at its outfall into the East Bay of Budd Inlet, where it is seen flowing during low tide.

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East Meadow Brook, Merrick

On my childhood trips from Queens to Jones Beach, my family drove on the Meadowbrook State Parkway. The highway’s 12.5-mile route runs mostly through a thickly forested landscape before the trees give way to the salt meadows of the south shore.

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The forest on the highway’s shoulders gives the impression of wilderness, but behind it are thousands of tract houses built during the 1950s suburban housing boom. Also not visible from the highway is its namesake stream, East Meadow Brook, which also shares its name with a nearby suburban community. One place where motorists can see it is at the Merrick Road cloverleaf, where it appears as a tidal inlet. Continue reading