A Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers
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....... Photo by Pach Bros. Photos. 845 Broadway N.Y. "THE CONSOLIDATED TELEGRAPH AND ELECTRICAL SUBWAY COMPANY" View of Subway on Greene Street near Spring Street, showing manhole. 1889.

The Field Guide to New York City Manhole Covers is a compendium of the more than 160 years of place-markers seen today on the streets and walkways of New York City. Manhole Covers (or Maintanance Access Node Hole covers if you must), Coal-Hole Covers and Valve Covers can be found on just about any block of the city, and can reveal a history and a sense of New York life far beyond their primary purpose; preventing small children and animals from falling off the face of the earth.

The guide is designed from the point of view of someone who sees an odd inscription on a cover, say "B.P.M" and wants to know what that means. Typing the initials in the SEARCH page will then show a range of covers with those initials. Clicking on the one that looks interesting will bring up a page with information not only about the Borough President of Manhattan, but the purpose of the cover and often the date and aspects of its design and history. At the bottom of each page three related covers can be followed for more information.

Beta Warning!!! To friends coming to this page in the spring (and summer?) of 2021 the web pages are still in BETA. There are still lots of things to tune and not all covers are written up or connected to links. Please feel free to wander as you choose around the site, but remember that you may have to backtrack at some points. Also, not all formats, operating systems and browser combos have been tested, if you find any problems please contact me and let me know. See a new and different cover? let me know!

Why not just take a plunge...?

Don Burmeister -- Photographs