Vault Lights were invented in the late 1800s before electricity to cast natural light beneath the sidewalks of New York and other cities into the vaults below–where people worked, walked and traveled, So much of city life still occurs beneath the surface, but the vaults lights are all but gone. A few remain in areas like Soho. They are not functional, and are barely recognizable, encrusted with the dirt and grime of many decades. Still, if you look carefully you can see the vast spectrum of reflected light, as well as the black emptiness under the broken lenses.