Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Waterworks

For most self-professed “townies,” it’s a rite of passage. Invite some poor unsuspecting sap up for an evening of Spa City revelry, imbibe in a few too many cocktails then, after waking up the next morning, make a run for some of the “healing” mineral waters in Congress Park. Then watch with glee as the aforementioned sap, his or her mouth parched from the previous night’s debauchery, takes a big mouthful of Saratoga’s finest aqua.

Simply put, the reaction is priceless. There’s nothing worse than thinking in your head that you’re about to suck down the coolest, most refreshing spring water you’ve ever drank, only to find your mouth full of a liquid that tastes much the way a landfill smells.

It’s not to say the springs around the city are bad. In fact, many of the hardcore rabble-rousers from back in the day used to drink the water by the gallon. Nevertheless, the springs are an “acquired” taste, so to speak, and one that’s not acquired without years of being subjected to the gut-wrenching taste of water that is supersaturated with about every mineral in the book, including bicarbonate, chlorine, sodium, calcium and magnesium to name a few. The result is a potent potable that is bound to cure what ails you, but isn’t likely something that will quench your thirst.

That didn’t stop Public Works fixture Tom McTygue from bringing a pair of out-of-town rubes down to the Congress Spring Tuesday. The rubes, a pair of judges from the national “America in Bloom” contest, readily sucked down some of the water on what was perhaps the hottest day of the summer thus far in the city.

Amazingly, Judge Melanie Riggs seems to think high of the mineral waters. The New Rochelle native took a mouthful and then made a startling proclamation to The Daily Gazette reporter.

“What a great feeling to walk through the city and have that open water,” she said after sampling the springs.

Yes Ms. Riggs, it is a great feeling, especially when you see a sweating tourist fresh from the track saddle up next to the springs for what he or she thinks will be the end-all of all spring water gulps. Or better yet, when a bicycler fills up their water bottle with the liquid and then furiously peddles off thinking they’ve acquired enough water to quench their thirst for another 10 miles.

Then again, if McTygue was looking to win over Riggs and her fellow judge from Chi-Town, pushing them in front of the mineral springs fountain was probably not the wisest of moves. That is, unless he took them to a 4 a.m. session of binge drinking at Clancy's Tavern the morning before.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention...my first year in Saratoga I ran by that damn fountain in Congress Park and drank the most disgusting gulp of my life. Liquid fart.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

My daughter recently did the world's funniest spit take after downing some Hathorn water. I warned her, but she went for it anyway.

I'm a recent arrival and thought the whole spring thing was cool. I was happily filling up bottles from the Colombian Spring near Broadway thinking it was natural spring water. Then I got a brochure and saw that the water in that particular spring is municipal water. How come it tastes so good and my tap is gross?

9:11 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Here’s a good theory as to why it might taste a bit better. As you know, the springs operate 24-7 year round. With a constant movement of water, the impurities sucked out of the Loughberry Lake Reservoir don’t get a chance to build up in the pipe work, as they do in most homes.

There’s also a chance you –or the spring –could be getting water from elsewhere; the city also draws water from well heads near Geyser Crest. But if there’s premium water in town, this is probably where it’s to be had. If I recall correctly, these wells are fed by a rather sizeable aquifer there. Aquifers provide the best source of water, as they’re not semi-stagnant pools, like the lakes.

This is one of the reasons I’ve always questioned why Tom McTygue is hell-bent on tapping the lake, when the Crest wells are supposedly top-notch and a bountiful source at that. But I digress…

9:51 AM  

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