Water by Design
By the late 1880's the Croton Aqueduct Commission was deeply involved in constructing the second Croton Aqueduct and the local laying of pipes and the distribution of contracts was handled by the New York City Department of Public Works. The DPW was also responsible for construction of the sewers needed to carry the Croton water away.
This design harkens back to the Croton Water Department designs of the 1860's, and the numerous dated DPW SEWER covers if the 1870's. The key similarity to the aqueduct is the center circle with three spokes and the casting date, and the circle of lettering in ring. The outer ring has fourteen spokes unlike the aqueducts 17 and the sewer's 16. The added star is a feature found in neither.
Based on the design it is not all together clear if this was a local water main or sewer cover.
This nicely preserved cover is found on Convent Ave and W 130th St. The only other example is a few blocks downtown on Convent, but mostly obscured by cement.