Manhattan Born Manhole Cover in NYC

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

In Thomas Jefferson Park, along the walkway off 112th Street and 1st Avenue, the Croton Aqueduct manhole, dating from 1866 — is one of the oldest manholes in New York City. Another is located at 40th Street and 8th Avenue, and one was formerly next to the Puck Building on Jersey Street before street was paved over. These manholes were part of the Croton Aqueduct system, which had a distributing reservoir at what is now the site of the New York Public Library. There are some remnants of the system you can still see in the library and other places throughout New York City.

2. In Direct Line With Another and the Next, Public Art Fund by Lawrence Weiner

There are 19 of these manholes by Lawrence Weiner, a project with the Public Art Fund installed in 2000. They can be found in the West Village, Washington Square area, Union Square area and Astor Place area.

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4 thoughts on “10 of NYC’s Most Unique and Artistic Manhole Covers

    1. The article mentions that it is in Prospect Heights. More specifically, you can find them on Park Place and Sterling Place between Vanderbilt and Underhill avenues. But they are also in some other places in Brooklyn as well!

  1. 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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