Wikipedia: Empire City Subway is a company in New York City which is responsible for maintaining underground conduits in Manhattan and The Bronx, and the manholes by which those conduits are accessed. The company was formed in 1891 as part of a plan for common utility ducts to consolidate all utilities underground. Incompatibility among the utilities limited the range of utilities that could share their ducts, so the company now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon New York Telephone under a franchise from the city. In addition to Verizon, they provide service to cable television and other telephone companies. Manholes owned by Empire City Subway can be easily recognized by the abbreviation ECS (or ECS Co. LIM) cast into the metal covers.