We’ve only seen this in one place in New York City in all our explorations – in-ground garbage cans to hide household waste. We came across these on a walk around the Astoria and East Elmhurst waterfront area with photographer Nathan Kensinger, who was walking around a group of students from an architecture class that members of the Untapped Cities staff teaches at Columbia University.
The Dover “garbage receivers” are metal garbage cans – full size in fact – that go into the ground. They’re hot dipped in zinc to resist rust and prevent leakage, as reported by Volko Supply, a Garden City, Long Island-based home owner and contractor supply company that seems to have been the sole distributor of the Dover pails until they were discontinued. Underground garbage cans have a prime benefit of being more of a “raccoon and critter deterrent,” reports Volko, which claimed “never have a knocked over trash can again.” They can have an open bottom for drainage or be fitted with a shell can inside.
We found these at a Tudor-revival style apartment complex on 19th Road, across from the Lent-Riker Smith Homestead, the oldest private residence in New York City, built around 1655. The complex encompasses the address 7820 19th Road in East Elmhurst, Queens and is close to the entrance bridge to Rikers Island, an entrance to LaGuardia Airport for staff and supplies, and the man-made Ingraham’s Mountain.
Even though the Dover pails are discontinued, there appear to be similar alternatives. Volko has the Cambercans, also with a British inspired name but made in the United States. They claim it is the only all-metal trash-can system still available and made in the United States.
Here is the Lent Riker-Smith Homestead, across the setreet from the Dover garbage receivers: