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New York City Hall

New York City Hall

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New York City Hall is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center
Civic Center, Manhattan
Civic Center is a neighborhood in downtown Manhattan covering the area around New York City Hall. It is bounded on the west by Broadway, on the north by Chinatown, on the east by the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge, and on the south by the Financial District.As in other civic centers, it is the...

 area of Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, USA, between Broadway, Park Row
Park Row (Manhattan)
Park Row is a street located in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was previously called Chatham Street and during the late 19th century it was nicknamed Newspaper Row, as most of New York City's newspapers located on the street to be close to the action at New...

, and Chambers Street
Chambers Street (Manhattan)
Chambers Street is a bi-directional street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It runs from River Terrace, Battery Park City, in the west, past PS 234 and Stuyvesant High School to 1 Centre Street, the Manhattan Municipal Building‎, to the east. In the early 20th century the street...

. The building is the oldest City Hall in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 that still houses its original governmental functions, such as the office of the Mayor of New York City
Mayor of New York City
The Mayor of the City of New York is head of the executive branch of New York City's government. The mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and state laws within New York City.The budget overseen by the...

 and the chambers of the New York City Council
New York City Council
The New York City Council is the lawmaking body of the City of New York. It has 51 members from 51 council districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council serves as a check against the mayor in a "strong" mayor-council government model. The council monitors performance of city agencies and...

. While the Mayor's Office is in the building, the staff of thirteen municipal agencies under mayoral control are located in the nearby Manhattan Municipal Building
Manhattan Municipal Building
The Manhattan Municipal Building, at 1 Centre Street in New York City, is a 40-story building built to accommodate increased governmental space demands after the 1898 consolidation of the city's five boroughs. Construction began in 1907 and ended in 1914, marking the end of the City Beautiful...

, one of the largest government buildings in the world.

Constructed from 1810 to 1812, New York City Hall is a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

. Both its exterior (1966) and interior (1976) are designated New York City landmarks.

History


New York's first City Hall was built by the Dutch in the 17th century near 73 Pearl Street
Pearl Street (Manhattan)
Pearl Street is a street in the Lower section of the New York City borough of Manhattan, running northeast from Battery Park to the Brooklyn Bridge, then turning west and terminating at Centre Street...

. The city's second City Hall, built in 1700, stood on Wall
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 and Nassau Street
Nassau Street (Manhattan)
Nassau Street is a street in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan, located near Pace University and New York City Hall. It starts at Wall Street and runs north to Frankfort Street at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, lying one block east of Broadway and east of Park Row...

s. That building was renamed Federal Hall
Federal Hall
Federal Hall, built in 1700 as New York's City Hall, later served as the first capitol building of the United States of America under the Constitution, and was the site of George Washington's inauguration as the first President of the United States. It was also where the United States Bill of...

 after New York became the first official capital of the United States after the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. Plans for building a new City Hall were discussed by the New York City Council as early as 1776, but the financial strains of the war delayed progress. The Council chose a site at the old Common at the northern limits of the City, now City Hall Park.
In 1802 the City held a competition for a new City Hall. The first prize of $350 was awarded to Joseph Francois Mangin and John McComb, Jr.. Mangin, who was the principal designer, studied architecture in his native France before becoming a New York City surveyor in 1795 and publishing an official map of the city in 1803. Mangin was also the architect of the landmark St. Patrick's Old Cathedral
St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, New York
The Basilica of Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral, or Old St. Patrick's, is located at 260-264 Mulberry Street between Prince and Houston Streets in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, with the primary entrance currently located on Mott Street...

 on Mulberry Street. McComb, whose father had worked on the old City Hall, was a New Yorker and designed Castle Clinton
Castle Clinton
Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton, once known as Castle Garden, is a circular sandstone fort now located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, New York City, in the United States. It is perhaps best remembered as America's first immigration station , where more than 8 million...

 in Battery Park. He would supervise the construction of the building, and designed the architectural detailing as well.

Construction of the new City Hall was delayed after the City Council objected that the design was too extravagant. In response, McComb and Mangin reduced the size of the building and used brownstone
Brownstone
Brownstone is a brown Triassic or Jurassic sandstone which was once a popular building material. The term is also used in the United States to refer to a terraced house clad in this material.-Types:-Apostle Island brownstone:...

 at the rear of the building to lower costs; the brownstone, along with the original deteriorated Massachusetts marble facade, quarried from Alford, Massachusetts, was replaced with Alabama limestone in 1954 to 1956. Labor disputes and an outbreak of yellow fever further slowed construction. The building was not dedicated until 1811, and opened officially in 1812.

The building's Governor's Room hosted President-elect
President-elect
An -elect is a political candidate who has been elected to an office but who has not yet been sworn in or officially taken office. These may include an incoming president, senator, representative, governor and mayor.Analogously, the term "designate" An -elect is a political candidate who has been...

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 in 1861, and his coffin was placed on the staircase landing across the rotunda when he lay in state in 1865 after his assassination
Abraham Lincoln assassination
The assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, and his battered Army of...

. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 also lay in state beneath the soaring rotunda dome as did Colonel Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, first Union officer killed in the Civil War and commander of the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment of Union Army in the early years of the American Civil War. The regiment was organized in New York City in May 1861 as a Zouave regiment, known for its unusual dress and drill style, by Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth, a personal...

 (First Fire Zouaves). The Governor's Room, which is used for official receptions, also houses one of the most important collections of 19th century American portraiture and notable artifacts such as George Washington's
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 desk. There are 108 paintings from the late 18th century through the 20th. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

declared it "almost unrivaled as an ensemble, with several masterpieces." Among the collection is John Trumbull
John Trumbull
John Trumbull was an American artist during the period of the American Revolutionary War and was notable for his historical paintings...

’s 1805 portrait of Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

, the source of the face on the United States ten-dollar bill
United States ten-dollar bill
The United States ten-dollar bill is a denomination of United States currency. The first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, is currently featured on the obverse of the bill, while the U.S. Treasury is featured on the reverse. The United States ten-dollar bill ($10) is a...

. There were significant efforts to restore the paintings in the 1920s and 1940s. In 2006 a new restoration campaign began for 47 paintings identified by the Art Commission as highest in priority.

On July 23, 2003 at 2:08 p.m., City Hall was the scene of a rare political assassination. Othniel Askew, a political rival of City Councilman James E. Davis, opened fire with a pistol from the balcony of the City Council chamber. Askew shot Davis twice, fatally wounding him. A police officer on the floor of the chamber then fatally shot Askew. Askew and Davis had entered the building together without passing through a metal detector, a courtesy extended to elected officials and their guests. As a result of the security breach Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

 revised security policy to require that everyone entering the building pass through metal detectors without exception.

Architecture


Although Mangin and McComb designed the building, which was constructed between 1810 and 1812, it has been altered numerous times over the years, with the alteration often designed by noted architects:
  • 1860 - Leopold Eidlitz
    Leopold Eidlitz
    Leopold Eidlitz was a prominent New York architect best known for his work on the New York State Capitol , as well as "Iranistan" , P. T. Barnum's house in Bridgeport, Connecticut; St. Peter's Church, on Westchester Avenue at St...

  • 1898 - John H. Duncan
    John H. Duncan
    -Biography:He was the designer of the Wolcott Hotel. One of the most famous architects in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, his popularity rose after being selected as the architect of what is now Grant's Tomb, another "reconstruction" of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus .Another of...

  • 1903 - William Martin Aiken
    William Martin Aiken
    William Martin Aiken was an American architect who served as Supervising Architect of the United States Treasury and oversaw and participated in the design and construction of numerous federal buildings during his appointment that now reside on the National Register of Historic Places.-Early...

  • 1907, 1912, 1915, 1917 - Grosvenor Atterbury
    Grosvenor Atterbury
    Grosvenor Atterbury was an American architect, urban planner and writer. He studied at Yale University and then travelled in Europe. He studied architecture at Columbia University and worked in the offices of McKim, Mead & White. Much of Atterbury’s early work consisted of weekend houses for...

  • 1956 - Shreve, Lamb & Harmon
  • 1998 - Cabrera Barricklo


The architectural style of City Hall combines two noted historical movements, French Renaissance
French Renaissance architecture
French Renaissance architecture is the style of architecture which was imported to France from Italy during the early 16th century and developed in the light of local architectural traditions....

, which can be seen in the design of the exterior, and American-Georgian
Georgian architecture
Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United...

 in the interior design. The building consists of a central pavilion with two projecting wings. The design of City Hall influenced at least two later civic structures, the Tweed Courthouse
Tweed Courthouse
The building is composed of a central section with two projecting wings, with an addition in the center on the south facade. The entry portico on the main Chambers Street facade rises three and a half stories from a low granite curb, supported by four Corinthian columns...

 and the Surrogate's Courthouse
Surrogate's Courthouse
The Surrogate's Courthouse, also known as the Hall of Records, is a Beaux Arts municipal building in lower Manhattan in New York City....

. The entrance, reached by a long flight of steps, has figured prominently in civic events for over a century and a half. There is a columned entrance portico capped by a balustrade, and another balustrade at the roof. The domed tower in the center was rebuilt in 1917 after the last of two major fires. The original deteriorated Massachusetts marble facade, quarried from Alford, Massachusetts, with brownstone on the rear, was completely reclad with Alabama limestone above a Missouri granite base in 1954-6.

On the inside, the rotunda is a soaring space with a grand marble stairway rising up to the second floor, where ten fluted Corinthian columns support the coffered dome, which was added in a 1912 restoration by Grosvenor Atterbury
Grosvenor Atterbury
Grosvenor Atterbury was an American architect, urban planner and writer. He studied at Yale University and then travelled in Europe. He studied architecture at Columbia University and worked in the offices of McKim, Mead & White. Much of Atterbury’s early work consisted of weekend houses for...

. The rotunda has been the site of municipal as well as national events. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 lay in state here, attracting enormous crowds to pay their respects. City Hall is a designated New York City landmark. It is also listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

.

Functions


Official receptions are held in the Governor's room, which has hosted many dignitaries including the Marquis de Lafayette and Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

.
  • The historic Blue Room is where New York City mayors have been giving official press conferences for decades and is often used for bill-signing ceremonies.
  • Room 9 is the press room at City Hall where reporters file stories in cramped quarters.


The steps of City Hall frequently provide a backdrop for political demonstrations and press conferences concerning city politics. Live, unedited coverage of events at City Hall is carried on NYCTV
NYCTV
NYC TV is a group of Government-access television broadcast and cable TV channels operated by NYC Media Group, a division of the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications...

 channel 74, a City Government-access television (GATV) official cable TV channel.

Fencing surrounds the building's perimeter, with a strong security presence by the New York City Police Department
New York City Police Department
The New York City Police Department , established in 1845, is currently the largest municipal police force in the United States, with primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within the five boroughs of New York City...

. Public access to the building is restricted to tours and to those with specific business appointments.

Neighborhood


The area around City Hall is commonly referred to as Manhattan's Civic Center. Most of the neighborhood consists of government offices (city, state and federal), as well as an increasing number of upscale residential dwellings being converted from older commercial structures. Architectural landmarks such as St. Paul's Chapel
St. Paul's Chapel
St. Paul's Chapel, is an Episcopal chapel located at 209 Broadway, between Fulton and Vesey Streets, in lower Manhattan in New York City. It is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan.-History and architecture:...

, St. Peters Church
St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, New York
St Peter's Church is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in New York City and part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The church was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965. The original church's cornerstone was laid in 1785 and the first...

, the Woolworth Building
Woolworth Building
The Woolworth Building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York City. More than a century after the start of its construction, it remains, at 57 stories, one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City...

, Tweed Courthouse
Tweed Courthouse
The building is composed of a central section with two projecting wings, with an addition in the center on the south facade. The entry portico on the main Chambers Street facade rises three and a half stories from a low granite curb, supported by four Corinthian columns...

, the Manhattan Municipal Building
Manhattan Municipal Building
The Manhattan Municipal Building, at 1 Centre Street in New York City, is a 40-story building built to accommodate increased governmental space demands after the 1898 consolidation of the city's five boroughs. Construction began in 1907 and ended in 1914, marking the end of the City Beautiful...

, the Park Row Building
Park Row Building
The Park Row Building is a building on Park Row in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan also known as 15 Park Row...

, One Police Plaza
One Police Plaza
1 Police Plaza is the headquarters of the New York City Police Department . 1 Police Plaza is located on Park Row in downtown Manhattan near City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. Its block borders Park Row, Pearl Street, and Police Plaza...

, and the Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

 surround City Hall. City Hall Park is approximately three blocks away from the site of the former World Trade Center.

City Hall Station


Located directly under City Hall plaza is City Hall Station
City Hall (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)
City Hall, also known as City Hall Loop, was the original southern terminal station of the first line of the New York City Subway, built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company , named the "Manhattan Main Line", and now part of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line...

, the original southern terminal of the first line
History of the IRT subway before 1918
The first regularly operated subway in New York City was built by the city and leased to the Interborough Rapid Transit Company for operation under Contracts 1 and 2. Until 1918, when the new "H" system that is still operated - with separate East Side and West Side lines - was placed in service, it...

 of the New York City Subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

 built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). Opened on October 27, 1904, this station beneath the public area in front of City Hall was designed to be the showpiece of the new subway. Considered to be one of the most beautiful subway stations in the system, the station is unusually elegant in architectural style. The platform and mezzanine feature Guastavino tile
Guastavino tile
Guastavino tile is the "Tile Arch System" patented in the US in 1885 by Valencian architect and builder Rafael Guastavino...

, skylights, colored glass tile work and brass chandeliers. Passenger service was discontinued on December 31, 1945, although the station is still used as a turning loop for trains.

The nearest operating subway stations to City Hall are Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall (IRT Lexington Avenue Line) ( trains), City Hall (BMT Broadway Line)
City Hall (BMT Broadway Line)
City Hall is a local station on the BMT Broadway Line of the New York City Subway. It is served by the R train at all times except late nights and by the N train during late night hours...

 ( trains), and Park Place (IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line) ( trains).

In popular culture


New York City Hall has played a central role in several films and television series.
  • Spin City
    Spin City
    Spin City is an American sitcom television series that aired from September 17, 1996 until April 30, 2002 on the ABC network. Created by Gary David Goldberg and Bill Lawrence, the show was based on a fictional local government running New York City, and originally starred Michael J. Fox as Mike...

    (1996–2002), set in City Hall, starred Michael J. Fox
    Michael J. Fox
    Michael J. Fox, OC is a Canadian American actor, author, producer, activist and voice-over artist. With a film and television career spanning from the late 1970s, Fox's roles have included Marty McFly from the Back to the Future trilogy ; Alex P...

     as a Deputy Mayor making efforts to stop the dim-witted Mayor from embarrassing himself in front of the media and voters.
  • City Hall
    City Hall (film)
    City Hall is a 1996 film directed by Harold Becker. Al Pacino and John Cusack star as the Mayor of New York and his idealistic deputy mayor....

    (1996) starred Al Pacino
    Al Pacino
    Alfredo James "Al" Pacino is an American film and stage actor and director. He is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, Tony Montana in Scarface, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice in Dick Tracy and Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way, though he has also appeared...

     as an idealistic Mayor and John Cusack
    John Cusack
    John Paul Cusack is an American film actor and screenwriter. He has appeared in more than 50 films, including The Journey of Natty Gann, Say Anything..., Grosse Point Blank, The Thin Red Line, Stand by Me, Con Air, Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity, Serendipity, Runaway Jury, The Ice Harvest,...

     as his Deputy Mayor, who leads an investigation with unexpectedly far-reaching consequences into an accidental shooting.
  • In the 1984 movie Ghostbusters
    Ghostbusters
    Ghostbusters is a 1984 American science fiction comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis and follows three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City, who start a...

    the Mayor summons the protagonists to City Hall to discuss the impending end of the world.
  • City Hall is also referred to in the folk song "The Irish Rover
    The Irish Rover
    "The Irish Rover" is a traditional Irish song about a magnificent, though improbable, sailing ship that reaches an unfortunate end. It has been recorded by numerous artists, some of whom have made changes to the lyrics....

    " as performed by The Clancy Brothers
    The Clancy Brothers
    The Clancy Brothers were an influential Irish folk music singing group, most popular in the 1960s, they were famed for their woolly Aran jumpers and are widely credited with popularizing Irish traditional music in the United States. The brothers were Patrick "Paddy" Clancy, Tom Clancy, Bobby Clancy...

    , The Pogues
    The Pogues
    The Pogues are a Celtic punk band, formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems but the band continued first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals before...

     and The Dubliners
    The Dubliners
    The Dubliners are an Irish folk band founded in 1962.-Formation and history:The Dubliners, initially known as "The Ronnie Drew Ballad Group", formed in 1962 and made a name for themselves playing regularly in O'Donoghue's Pub in Dublin...

    :

In the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and six,

We set sail from the Coal Quay of Cork

We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks

For the grand City Hall in New York
Although the dates match those of City Hall, there is no recorded usage of Irish bricks in the building's construction. However the song mentions "The Irish Rover" never actually arrived in New York, but "struck a rock" and sank instead.



See also

  • City Hall Post Office and Courthouse (New York City)
    City Hall Post Office and Courthouse (New York City)
    The City Hall Post Office and Courthouse is a no longer existing building which was designed by architect Alfred B. Mullett for a triangular site in New York City along Broadway in Lower Manhattan, across City Hall Park from New York City Hall. The Second Empire style building, built between 1869...

     - formerly located in the southwest corner of the park
  • Brooklyn Borough Hall
    Brooklyn Borough Hall
    Brooklyn Borough Hall was designed in 1835 by architect Gamaliel King, and constructed under the supervision of superintendent Stephen Haynes. It was completed in 1849 to be used as the City Hall of the City of Brooklyn...

  • Gracie Mansion
    Gracie Mansion
    thumb|250px|Western sideGracie Mansion is the official residence of the mayor of the City of New York. Built in 1799, it is located in Carl Schurz Park, at East End Avenue and Eighty-eighth Street in Manhattan...

  • Manhattan Municipal Building
    Manhattan Municipal Building
    The Manhattan Municipal Building, at 1 Centre Street in New York City, is a 40-story building built to accommodate increased governmental space demands after the 1898 consolidation of the city's five boroughs. Construction began in 1907 and ended in 1914, marking the end of the City Beautiful...


External links