LIVE from NYPL: Lucy Sante with Sasha Frere-Jones: New York's Water Ways

Date and Time
August 31, 2022


Bryant Park Reading Room
Event Details

Writer, scholar, and critic Lucy Sante recounts the triumphs and the tragedies behind New York’s legendary fresh water supply.

Book jacket for Nineteen Reservoirs: On Their Creation and Promise of Water for New York City by Lucy Sante

The City as we know it would not exist today if it weren’t for the upstate reservoirs that supply its water. However, west of the Hudson, its creation brought about destruction and displacement for numerous communities and villages. Lucy Sante’s new book, Nineteen Reservoirs, honors both perspectives on the City’s reservoir system and helps us understand the full import of its creation, as well as its unintended consequences. She speaks about it with music and culture writer Sasha Frere-Jones.

This outdoor event takes place in the Bryant Park Reading Room, located between Fifth and Sixth Aves (behind the Library), near 42nd St by the yellow umbrellas. Rain venue to be announced day-of.

A map of the park can be found here.  There are accessible park entrances midblock on 40th and 42nd Streets, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. To get this information via phone, please call Bryant Park at: 212-768-4242.

To join the event in-person | Please be sure to register for an In-Person Ticket. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form 30 minutes before the program.



Purchase books during the event:

  • Books will be available for sale through Kinokuniya New York


The New York Public Library no longer mandates proof of vaccination at indoor public programs.

Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear a mask at LIVE from NYPL events.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or suspect you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please stay home.



  • Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue.
  • You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template.
  • This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs.


Lucy Sante was born in Verviers, Belgium, and is the author of seven books: Low Life, Evidence, The Factory of Facts, Kill All Your Darlings, The Other Paris, Folk Photography, and, most recently, Maybe the People Would Be the Times. She is the recipient of a Whiting Award, Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), and an Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography. Sante has contributed to the New York Review of Books since 1981 and to many other publications. She teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College and lives in Ulster County, New York.

Sasha Frere-Jones is a musician and writer from New York.



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For all other questions and inquiries, please email or use this Gmail template.



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LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.