This worn cover on Pearl St. is one of the few remaining momentos of a large network of pneumatic tubes that extended from Brooklyn to 125th St. Built for the fast delivery of mail and newspapers between post offices. The service started in lower Manhattan in 1897 and was still partially operational when it closed in 1953.
Single Weave pattern with san-sarif lettering. This design has occasionally been used by telephone and cable companies to this date.
The NY M & N T Company ran four pneumatic lines under the streets of Manhattan and one on the Brooklyn Bridge to the Main Post Office in Brooklyn.
This example is on Pearl St. on the pedestrian block just off Foley Square. At least two other examples, one on Greene Street and one on E 40th St. are still extant (circa 2020) although how much of the underground infrastructure survives is unclear.