A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


Brooklyn Water Supply

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What Comes In - Must Go Out

In the mid and late nineteenth century, Brooklyn, like New York across the river, developed large water supply systems. But the influx of water and the acceptance of indoor plumbing along with the surging population meant that equally capacious sewage systems were needed. The water boards in both Brooklyn and Manhattan were handed the responsibility of removing what they had brought in. Although they mostly went only as far as the nearest canal or estuary.


The honeycomb design, probably from the 1880's or 90's, became one of the standards throughout New York City for sewer access hatches.


The Brooklyn Water Supply department was active from ???? until consolidation.


There are still a couple of these covers on State Street in Boerum Hill.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs