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instant drinking fountains

A summer in Bushwick means the pumps are open and running 24/7. It blows my out-of-town friends’ minds whenever they see it. “It never gets turned off?” “and there are several more like it?”… “and just anyone can open one?””who’s in charge of the water?…nobody?”..

It’s a little bit of anarchy, but its also crayola (I’m coining a word here) in the fun department. Like where does the water come from? Where does it go? Is it recycled? I hope its safe to drink, because everyone, myself included, drinks directly from the pump. Hell the city even has these make-shift drinking fountains they invite everyone to drink from, hooked right up to the pumps.

Outside the five boroughs they are fire hydrants, but in Brooklyn they are “johnny pumps”, or “the pump” for short. Or if you speak spanish “la bomba” is acceptable.

One summer I came home and it was boiling all day long, the heat just wouldn’t let up. It was so hot I would take the local train so I had more time to soak up the a/c. Days like that everyone heads to Coney Island, but on my block Coney Island came to us. They just open that pump full blast, all the kids run thru the water, the parents pull their folding chairs up to the curb and let their feet soak in the run-off.

When I came to my stoop after working that day, my downstairs neighbor approached me with a bucket full of water. He just said “put your stuff down J”. I just said “hold on …” put my bags in the well, came back and he just dunked me. I was soaked, everyone on the block was laughing, and the water was a shock that immediately took away the heat.

I figured the fact that it was underground would explain why it was so cold. Where was it underground? How can people say the next war will be over water, and yet we can afford to just leave these pumps open for months at a time?

My favorite is the white trash car wash… People will just pull up slowly to make sure their car gets a good soak. I always want to say “where’s the soap dumbass”. One day I asked this Mexican lady who spent a good thirty seconds sitting in front of the pump if she felt it really cleaned her car. She just said “I don’t know…maybe”.

That is some white trash shit if ever I saw it, cept these people are brown. Well what the hell, just proves you ain’t got to be white to get your “white trash” on.

If I’ve been skating in the heat and I’m just getting to the point where I need relief, I just jump in front of a pump, or dunk my head in it. Brooklyn is still a place where you can do that and not look weird. You can be soaked head to toe and it ain’t no thang.

Reports claim that there are pharmaceuticals in the water, testosterone, estrogen, anti-depressants. But still, loads of people, once again myself included, proudly drink New York tap. Maybe its all the pharmaceuticals that make it taste so refreshing. Maybe the pharmaceuticals alter my mind and make me think it taste good, when actually it doesn’t.

Truth be told, is that New York tap (and tap water in general) is held to higher standerds and regular testing than bottled water, and its free. Smart water actually made me feel tired and fatigued. Worse yet bottled water companies don’t have to disclose where the water came from, how it has been treated or what contaminants it contains. To be honest, drinking from plastic, sucks. It makes everything taste cheap. Not to mention all the waste generated by plastic bottles.

My grandfather once told his father used to pour a glass of water from the tap and look at him and say, some day you’ll have to pay for it. I fear that one day these pumps won’t be allowed to be opened. Better get it while you can.

Pump in da Shwick

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