A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


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Looks Like: the glass on a round car headlight.

Sometime in the mid-20th century, the Campbell Foundry in Harrison New Jersey started producing utility covers with this basic design (which in a later catalog is called pattern number 1049). There are variations with this one being a bare bones example except but for the 4 digits representing the year
Can I see other years you ask? How about 1949 1953 1954 1956 1957 1958 1972 1983 1986 1992 1993 1994 1996 1997 1998 ...and maybe more!


A 12 spoke wagon wheel design with 2 spokes 'covered' by two bars creating a center space. The 4 numbers are the only inscription. The basic wagon wheel motif has been used for sewer lids since the 1870's


Sewer connections, I have spotted this design on covers dated from 1953 to 1998.


Throughout New York in mostly in Parks and Housing Authority green areas. This one was spotted in Queensbridge Park near 42nd Ave. in Long Island City.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs