Arbitrary fountains

Before I go any further, here’s a question.  When you see this:


Image via Wikimedia Commons


Do you think:

  1. That’s a water fountain!
  2. That’s a drinking fountain!
  3. That’s a bubbler!

I’m not sure what to call it anymore.  I’ve always called it a water fountain, but if you look for images of that, you’re more likely to find a large, decorative water feature.  But let’s put that aside and get down to brass tacks, which today will take the form of an open letter to whomever controls the water fountains/drinking fountains/bubblers in Central Park.  This is what I’d like to say to that person:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I’m going to cut right to the chase: I’m confused.  I know that the water fountains in Central Park are turned off during the colder months, and turned back on sometime in April.  But what truly perplexes me is that it’s now May and some of the fountains are on while others are off.  There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to help the hapless and thirsty park patron determine which fountains may be dispensing water and which may not; indeed, it seems entirely arbitrary.

Logic would dictate that if it’s warm enough for some fountains to be on, it’s warm enough for all of them to be on, but this is not the case.  And in fact, the illogic nature of the whole situation can be the source of some distress when you’re on a run in the park and you go to the nearest fountain hoping for a refreshing drink only to find that it’s dry!

I’ve spoken with other runners about this, and they are just as frustrated by the situation as I am.  Would it be possible to indicate in some way the times during the year that the various fountains are on or off?  Or maybe devise a system to differentiate between the fountains that are turned on in April and those that have yet to be turned on?  I’m sure that such a system would be widely appreciated.

Thank you for your time.  I hope you’ll give some thought to what I’ve said.

Sincerely yours,


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