Manhattan Born Manhole Cover-Central ParkManhattan Born Manhole Cover in NYC Image via Waymarking

One time we wrote about all the manholes inside Westminster Abbey, London (amazingly, there are over 50). New York City also has an amazing array of manholes and after our recent discovery of a Flickr group dedicated to the city’s manholes, we thought we’d highlight some of the most unique ones. Manhole covers were once a part of a town’s civic pride, with foundries and local authorities placing their stamp on the cast-iron covers. Covers were a reflection of the progress made through the industrial revolution and the new provision of services that accompanied increasing urbanization. Many of the manholes specify Con Edison or Bell, a reflection of the move to put the city’s electrical wires underground after the great blizzard of 1888.

1. Oldest Manhole Cover in NYC

Croton Aqueduct Manhole-Jersey Street-NYC-1866Image by matvonthies

On Jersey Street behind the Puck Building is what is thought to be the city’s oldest manhole, dating from 1886. It’s part of the Croton Aqueduct system, which had a distributing reservoir at what is now Bryant Park. There are some remnants of the system you can still see inside the New York Public Library.

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2 Responses
  1. Zequek Estrada Reply

    I didn’t know that covers were a reflection of the progress made through the industrial revolution. I’ve seen manhole covers before but didn’t give a thought to it. Next time I come across one I’ll make sure to look at it more closely. It’s pretty interesting how they’re bits of history in random places.

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