A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


Bureau of Sewers Borough of Queens

cover image

A Queens Stalwart

From shortly after NYC Consolidation in 1898 until _____ the Bureau of Sewers in the Queens Borough Presidents office produced and installed thousands of new sewer lines. Most of the lines sported this distinctive, but most utilitarian, access cover. BSBQ refers to the Bureau of Sewers, one of the least glamorous, but still very remunerative, agencies in the BP's office.


The utilitarian design has 26 vent holes (an outer ring of 16, an inner ring of 8 with 2 more in the center) interspersed with rings of square studs (16 in the outer rind, then rings of 16, 8 and 4 .)with the sans sarif BSBQ in the center. This particular cover sits on a captains wheel head with 6 handles, so is probably an early example of the style.


Main-line sanitary sewer.


Throughout Queens with occasional outliers in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Related Images Follow

Don Burmeister -- Photographs