A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


Queens Midtown Tunnel

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Got a problem with Q?

The Queens Midtown Tunnel was opened in 1940 after a decades long struggle and 4 years of digging. The tunnel was built by New York City under the aegis of The New York City Tunnel Authority a New York State agency with much oposition from one R. Moses who headed the Triborough Bridge Authority. The Tunnel Authority was eventually subsumed into the Moses led Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (1946) Since 1994 the TBTA is "now doing business as MTA Bridges and Tunnels" according to the MTA website. None of these agencies have left a trace on the many manhole covers around the tunnel, which are all identified with Q M T


The MTA B&T has no single design scheme for the various manhole covers in its realm. This recatgular cover with a tight grid is one of the simplest designs. The main peculiarity is the slightly too small Q, as if anticipating the Q growing a longer tail.


Unknown, perhaps traffic control.


This example is on the wittily named Tunnel Exit Street between 39th and 40th Sts on the east side of Manhattan.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs