Valentine No. 10

The story behind these valentines is here.

10. “You walk on them all the time, probably without noticing them,” wrote Oliver E. Allen in the Tribeca Trib. “They are small round glass lenses, many quite handsome, set into a cast iron plate in the sidewalk or in a loading platform at the edge of a building so as to let light into the space beneath them, and they are found all over Tribeca. Known as vault lights, they are an important part of our architectural heritage.” They let light into the “vault spaces” under the sidewalks, and they’re fabulous—especially the lilac-tinted ones in front of the Issey Miyake store.

••• Valentine No. 1: Bouquets of joy
••• Valentine No. 2: Tower power
••• Valentine No. 3: Sidewalking
••• Valentine No. 4: Fun in the basement
••• Valentine No. 5: More fun in the basement
••• Valentine No. 6: What’s the latest buzz?
••• Valentine No. 7: They’re all wet
••• Valentine No. 8: On the horizon
••• Valentine No. 9: The women in the window



  1. Eric,
    would love to have seen a photo from a vault lit by these. I have been curious about these for years.

  2. Wonder how much longer they’ll be around?

  3. @Neeta: Me too! If anyone has access to such a space, please contact me at

  4. Carol, our condo installed them fairly recently – described as bullet glass in the memo to owners – so they are still being made.