A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


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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 134th St. is distinctive and I have seen no other Bronx covers with this simplicity of design. There is a very similar cover with a different inscription in Manhattan (see below.) The 10 peg captains wheel seat is found in many other locations, including with a more elaborate sewer cover in Mott Haven also dated 1878. (see below)

Related Images Follow

Don Burmeister -- Photographs