A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


Consolidated Edison

cover image

In The Beginning

This cover encapsulates a single thread through the complicated history of the early electrification of New York. The Consolidated Edison Company of New York was officially incorporated in 1936. But it, and essentially all of the electric companies in New York, had been owned (at least in part) by the Consolidated Gas Company. The Consolidated Gas Company bought the New York Gas & Electric Light, Heat & Power Company in 1899, then in 1901 bought the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. and merged the two to form the New York Edison Co. NYE serviced all of Manhattan and much of the Bronx. The new ConEdison extended it's range to all five boroughs.


The simple 6 spoke wheel has three internal rings that subdivide the cover into first 6, then with the addition of more spokes, 12, then almost 24 coffered spaces. See the examples below of the same design in its EEI, NYE and This cover is one of the rare covers that was made from the same design in the EEI, NYE and in later CE Co years.


The 1936 merger forming Consolidated Edison also included The New York Steam Company, Consolidated Gas, and the Consolidated Telegraph and Telephone Subway Company (CT & TS Co Ltd), but the electric lineage of the design suggest it too was for electric distribution.


This cover is on Varick St. near the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan. There is another one at Lexington Ave and 57th St.

Related Images Follow

Don Burmeister -- Photographs