A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers


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Restless Hands

This sewer cover from 1875 is a continuation of a series started in 1872 (at least) with a lineage going back to 1862. The design keeps the changes made in 1874 in terms of overall design, but changed the alignment of the lettering for a third time. In 1872 all the characters were aligned along their bottom edges on a central circle. In 1874 the letters were aligned with their bottoms on the inner circle, but the numbers hung from their tops. In 1875 all the letters were hanging with their heads on that inner circle. One thing that did not change is the exuberant use of periods after D,P,W and SEWER, a constant throughout the years.


The wagon wheel with 16 outer strokes continues on. Note also that outer frame for the cover, the ship captain's wheel, has the same 7 lugs from year to year.


SEWER Period.


This cover is on Amsterdam and W 111th St. within shouting distance of several others of this type in the neighborhood.

Related Images Follow

Don Burmeister -- Photographs