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How To Open Fire Hydrants In NYC And Do It Legally (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 07/20/11 01:01 PM ET   Updated: 09/19/11 06:12 AM ET

One of the most enduring and mesmerizing tropes in New York City photography is that of kids dancing around in the spray of opened fire hydrants, cooling off from the cement-compounded heat of the sticky city summer.

(The open fire hydrant is such a part of the culture here that one church in Harlem even performs baptisms in the jetting water.)

What's the best way to open a fire hydrant? The Department of Environmental Protections reminds New Yorkers that it's technically illegal--unless you have a city-approved spray cap.

And these are easy to get! Spray caps can be obtained legally by an adult at your local firehouse. A firefighter will even come to your block's fire hydrant (there are 109,000 in New York) and open it for you.

So get out on the streets New York! It's HOT out.

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Filed by Christopher Mathias  |