A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers



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Local Iron Works

Bryan G. Green was a transplated Englishman who had a thriving Iron Works on the edge of Brooklyn Heights in the first decades of the 20th Century. Just the time to supply the growing need for covers for the ubiquitous coal chutes in the front of many of the new and updated buildings in the thriving new borough. The address on the covers varied over the years, but the building that now stands at 215 Pacific was probably at the core of the foundry.


Green's designs can be considered the exemplars of the genre. Simple rings of iron nubs, centered with a five point star, with the manufacturers name and address prominently seen along the outer edge. In this cover the text is broken on the ring with the character baseline in, while the address part has the characters with baseline out. Green also felt the need here to squeeze in NY after Brooklyn, just in case you didn't now where Brooklyn was.


There are many Green coal lids and at least 4 variant addresses throughout 'Brownstone Brooklyn'. This one is on Orange St. near Hicks.

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Don Burmeister -- Photographs