A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


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Stickball Anyone?

This unusual cover with its rather simplified design is one of only a few seen around New York. Different Departments of Public Works have existed since the 1870's, but this one does not seem to have the exuberance of the early covers. On the other hand it has experienced more than a few days of lying in a New York City street.


The design is a stream-lined version of a typical Wheel and Spoke with most of the spokes removed


The cover is one of a line of classic and different sewer covers running in the middle of Claremont Ave. Stickball anyone? Three sewers is a home run! Being at the end of the block I would bet that this cover just had to be home plate.


This lid is in the middle of Claremont Ave behind Barnard College in Manhattan. Diana Stuart in her book 'Designs Underfoot' has a picture of another example from the corner of East 85th St and 2nd Ave, which was the only one of this type she found, and which surprisingly is still there, although partly hidden by a Covid-19 sidewalk restaurant dining platform.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs