Collect Pond, Manhattan

From Academic Kids

New York City's Collect Pond was a body of fresh water north of the original city on the southern tip of the island, covering approximately 48 acres (194,000 m²) and running as deep as 50 feet (15 m). It was located just north of today's Foley Square and just west of modern Chinatown.

As the city grew northward in the colonial era the Collect became an important source of fresh water. As municipal growth continued into the late 18th century, the pond (really a small lake) became polluted by seepage from privies and run-off from small industries, including tanneries, slaughterhouses and breweries.

Due to the extreme pollution, which had been implicated in small scale outbreaks of cholera and typhus, the Collect was condemned. A drainage canal was dug to both the Hudson and East rivers and was later filled in (present day Canal Street was built over it). Several decades would go by before New York City obtained a new, plentiful supply of fresh water from the Croton Aqueduct. The Five Points neighborhood, a notorious but vibrant slum, developed just off the former eastern bank of the Collect and owed its existence in some measure to the poor landfill job (completed in 1811) which created swampy, mosquito ridden conditions on land that had originally attracted more well-to-do residents.

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