Posts Tagged ‘Coal Hole Covers NYC’

The mystery manhole cover on Central Park West

June 1, 2020

The most interesting manhole covers are the ones that tell us who made it and when it was put in place: the name of an ironworks company, the initials of a city department, a date.

This cover, on Central Park West south of 86th Street, doesn’t offer much in the way of clues.

The two decorative stars feel very 19th century. “Water Supply” could certainly mean it was part of the Croton Aqueduct system; its location outside Central Park could be evidence that it had something to do with the receiving reservoir that existed in the park.

It looks like no other manhole cover I’ve encountered in Manhattan. But there is an identical one in Brooklyn (above). It’s on Eastern Parkway near Prospect Park.

What a 70th Street coal hole cover has to say

June 3, 2019

New York streets are still dotted with 19th century manhole covers—decorative, sometimes artistic portals that lead to the gritty underground city of electrical wires, gas lines, and water pipes.

But you’re less likely to stumble upon coal hole covers. By popping the lid, a coal delivery company could easily get coal for heating into the basement of a home, then be on its way to the next house on the block.

This cover, by the former M.J. Dempsey Iron Foundry in the far West 50s on 11th Avenue, is embedded into the sidewalk on East 70th Street, a pristine monument to Manhattan’s departed foundries and how houses were heated before steam.