The historic fountain in Madison Square Park, originally dedicated in 1867, is not actually the fountain from 1867. It's a modern reproduction, and it's hard to determine how many degrees of separation the current incarnation is from the original. This morning the fountain is being replaced, so we reached out to the Parks Department to find out more. Keats Myer at Madison Square Park told us:
"The old fountain was installed in the late 1990s. The interior piping had corroded and it made more sense to replace the entire object rather than re-plumb it. We believe the new fountain (which is identical, and historically accurate) will have a higher spray, reflecting the spray from the photos taken in the 1800s. We anticipate that this fountain will last longer as we are installing it with precautions against corrosion, that were neglected in the previous installation."
When the fountain was replaced in the late '90s, Timothy Marshall—who was overseeing the park's renovation at the time—told the NY Times, ''Water helps drown out urban noise." During those renovations, "the area around the fountain was all renovated" as well, "based on photographs from the 1800s," Myers told us. The renovation was successful at restoring the park's original 19th century design by Ignatz Pilat and William Grant.
The fountain normally turns on in late April, but that has been delayed a few weeks due to this replacement.