Functional Sculptures in Space

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

“Roll out the barrel, we’ll have a barrel of fun”—Lew Brown, J Vejvoda

Resembling big wooden barrels topped off with cylindrical hats, they stand on wide platforms supported on metal legs secured with cross braces. Amidst the graceful towering towers of the city they are rooftop intruders, that are required for most NYC buildings over six stories high.

You may have guessed. They are water towers. Their pumping systems provide water pressure to furnish the daily water needs of city dwellers. Cedar wood is the preferred material, neither painted nor chemically treated, so as not to taint the water. But there are steel drums too. And some are housed in brick structures to disguise them.

They add sculptural shape of functional beauty to the skyline of New York City, and sometimes a bit more. A recent winter snap adorned a leaking one with massive sheaths of icicles. For several days, it graced the sky with its glistening drapery until it was finally repaired.

The skyline was shot with the Fujifilm X-T1 and the XF35mm f/1.4 R lens with an exposure of 1/4000 sec at f/1.8 and ISO 200; the towers with the Olympus E-M5 and the Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm lens with an exposure of 1/1600 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 400; the iced water tower with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II and the Olympus M. Zuiko 75-300 f/4.8-6.7 lens at 156mm with an exposure of 1/3200 sec at f/5.7 and ISO 400, -1 1/3EV and


Mildred’s book Haiku and Images is available on Amazon and is filled wit h beautifully reproduced color photographs along with original haiku underneath, embellishing the image and deepening its meaning. Pick up a copy to give as gift for yourself or a friend.