A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


cover image

Oldest Dated Bronx Cover?

The annexation of the area west of the Bronx River by New York City occurred in 1874. The area, known then as the Annexed District, was quickly developed with housing with both water and sewer systems laid down by the city. This cover remains from those early days. The date alone was sufficient, this was before it became important to brand the covers with their department or sponsor.


The design is a simple grid turned 45 with an interesting rendering of the number 8. Note the ring of the seat is like a captains wheel, in this case with 10 pegs. The pegs were designed as stabilizing elements, as this manhole was probably placed in soil or gravel, not pavement.


Probably for sewer access.


The lid on the east side of the Grand Concourse south of E 114th Stl is distinctive and I have seen no others with this simplicity of design. The 10 peg captains wheel seat is found in many other locations, including a more elaborate 1878 sewer cover in Mott Haven (see below)

Related Images Follow

Don Burmeister -- Photographs