The point? This is a comment I recently found on Empire Zone and it just about sums it up:
"Anybody know if people are still fishing in Manhattan basements in buildings constructed over still flowing streams? Recall a story about that in the NYT some 30-35 years ago."
Ah, yes. Fishing in basements. Canal Street in Lower Manhattan was a hand-dug canal before it was a street. Who knows how many other canals, ditches, friths, rivers (and whatever else) have been covered up and built upon in the last two centuries of development. We've all heard about the "sink-holes" -- created by leaking pipes and runoff-- that can open up out of nowhere in Brooklyn asphalt. And just the other day i toured an early 19th century clapboard house that had a sealed-up well in the basement floor. So, obviously, there are underground rivers too, or were.
The one thing i don't understand is how the water continues to flow in and out of the basement, and how the fish get in...
I'll be back after i find out more.
In the meantime, here is a fun map of Manhattan's original waterways; the dark green denotes marshland. "Topographical map of the City of New York : showing original water courses and made land / prepared under the direction of Egbert L. Vielé, topographical engineer" (from The Library of Congress, Geography and Maps Division).