Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Secret Language of Underground New York


I'm not sure if this post will interest most of you. I happen to find the subject quite fascinating. Walking through the streets of New York, I often see strange messages and mysterious symbols scrawled on the city's sidewalks and walls. 

This is a language spoken by the men and women of our nation's utility companies. Those who are able to read it can see under the ground--and perhaps even into the future. (For instance, the markings in the photo above indicate where a new street tree is about to be planted.)

The language is color-coded, making it easy to know which utilities are at work. (It will also give you a sense of where you might be able to find a sewer line in an emergency.) 

Fortunately, it seems that no one knows who's behind the GOLD sidewalk markings that are sometimes spotted near the city's oldest buildings. 

More at the Smithsonian. (Have a look around while you're there. It's a wonderful site.)

5 comments:

Pickles Picasso said...

I have been waiting for this my entire life. NOW I KNOW, AND CAN FINALLY UNDERSTAND!!!

Yes, good thing they don't know what gold means. (I will be putting gold stamps/paint on everyone's curb in my neighborhood from now on.)

Pickles Picasso said...

I want to see white lines now so badly.

42 said...

Those lines have always interested me! I wonder if the code is standard throughout the US, or specifically New York?

Anonymous said...

ii think ive heard of that. i have a friend in ny and she said theres markings on the cement. now i know. im going to tell her but alas im in california and i kinda lost contact with her

Micci said...

That's so cool! I've always wondered what those marks mean. I must have seen them around LA, because they look familiar to me. I'd like to learn how to read them...