A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


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Oldest of it's Type in NYC

Sometime in the mid-20th century, the Campbell Foundry in Harrison New Jersey started producing utility covers with this basic design (which in a later catalog is called pattern number 1049). There are variations, and this one might be considered the "classic" with the Cambell name on the outer rim and the 4 numerals of the year in the inner circle. Are there other years you ask? How about 1953 1954 1956 1957 1958 1972 1983 1986 1992 1993 1994 1996 1997 1998 or more!


An early example of a similar design, not in New York, but perhaps from the same foundry, was posted on Instagram by Chico_Polte.


Based mainly on location and size it's probably a sewer cover.


This design is found in all boroughs often in connection with a city park or housing project. This one was found in Van Cortlandt Park near the at the south end of Van Cortland Lake recreation center and rest rooms and is the earliest dated example of its type I have seen in NYC.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs