Reader Mail: Sidewalk Holes!

4/26/2010 Update:

Man in blue pickup spotted stealing covers on Hudson St.

Reported moments ago on the Hoboken411 Live Police and Fire Action Channel“A man in a blue pickup truck (with a refrigerator in it) was seen stealing the metal utility covers on the sidewalk along Hudson Street.” Police reported he was last seen near 4th and Hudson, and added “this has been happening for years now.” As of 8:13pm, HPD still hasn’t found the alleged thief.

Wonder if it has been the same person all along, or is there a “sidewalk scrap metal cartel?” Either way, be careful walking with stiletto heels!


I’ve been a victim once or twice with these holes that seem to be popping up more often than I can remember. Who’s responsible for sealing them back up?

Here’s what Hoboken411 reader Mark had to say:

Missing Sidewalk Covers

hoboken-sidewalk-holes.jpg“Hey 411,

Still love the site and been meaning to send this to you for a few weeks now.

Here is a topic for you to put out there and also perhaps a question for the Hoboken411 Legal Beagle section.

WHAT is up with all of the missing water main covers all over town? I noticed lots of missing covers starting last summer but now our sidewalks and even in the streets are full of holes.

I can only imagine that some dirtbag is stealing them & taking them in as scrap somewhere for a $1 a piece but someone in the hardware store says he thinks it’s plumbers. Apparently, when the metal ones go missing a plumber can put in a plastic insert that goes half way down the pipe with a plastic cover. That is the black ones you see in half of the town. Of course when you call the city, they tell you where you can go & BUY one.

What if a dog steps in the hole, a small child or imagine an elderly person putting there cane** in there by accident? This brings up a legal question. If someone falls & gets hurt outside of your house because some cretin stole the water cover are you liable???? I have enclosed a picture of what I’m talking about. Just take a look on almost every street & you will see the same scene.

Why the city is letting this ugly & potentially dangerous situation continue?

Keep up the good work on the site!”

[**411 Note: The Hoboken Planning Board President Tom Mooney (who’s getting out of the hospital next week in case anyone’s wondering) had this exact same incident happen to him last year… it’s ridiculous that no one is staying on top of it!]

Leave a Reply

24 Comments on "Reader Mail: Sidewalk Holes!"

Sort by:   newest | oldest

Laugh if you must. But when I was about thirteen, and figuring out a commute to my high school of choice by bus, I kinda stepped into one of these f*cking holes by accident.

You see, I was at a grassy bus-stop, and the hole was covered by leaves. Lots of leaves. So I didn’t see the hole.

So I was walking casually towards the bus schedule, when, oopsie, my entire left leg went dooown dee hole.

That was scary. I was lucky I didn’t hurt myself real bad during that fall.


HOLY crap. I saw that truck earlier. Maybe around… 7:30 PM or so. I was in that neighborhood, tonight!

It’s a pretty big pick-up truck, low as hell to the ground. The color got my attention. It’s a light blue, like the light-blue of a car your aunt or uncle used to drive about thirty years ago.

Odd (and yet cool at the same time?).


Scrap iron now selling around $380/ton.
Local dealers will buy scrap around $100 less.

Hoboken Public Works should notify local dealers
about these covers getting stolen


Crazy glue ought to prevent this 🙂


Whoever this is, they also steal your standpipe covers. We had plastic ones put on our standpipe after they were stolen, and he hasn’t stolen these ones since they’re not worth anything.