Home to New York City’s government since 1812, City Hall tours take in its cupola-topped marble hall, the governor’s room, as well as the spot where Abraham Lincoln’s coffin lay in state briefly in 1865. This is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions.
Free tours are available but must be reserved in advance. Phone the number below.
Aahhh, the Woolworth building. I'm particularly sentimental toward this piece of New York architecture because I used to work on one of its floors. Every day I arrived to work it would always bug me how tourists would impede my path as they stood in the lobby entrance taking pictures. I didn't realize what all the hoopla was about until one day when I examined the lobby and came to the realization that I DID work in a beautiful building. The Gothic-style structure with it's ornate features, marble walls, and vaulted ceilings covered in mosaics combined for a truly stunning effect. I must say, it was pretty cool to have worked in an NYC landmark.
The last building designed by the architect Cass Gilbert, the United States Courthouse, was completed in 1936, after his death. Its base is modelled after a Roman temple, complete with Corinthian Columns, and topped by a tower with a pyramidal roof, inspired by the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus (located near Bodrum, Turkey), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although this courthouse in itself is noteworthy, Cass Gilbert is best known for designing the nearby Woolworth Building.
26 Federal Plaza is perhaps the most hated building by New York City's immigrants. The reason is that it houses the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is notorious for giving immigrants many headaches before they finally become US citizens. The building's official name is the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building, but it is known simply by its address. It also houses the FBI's NYC office. The building itself is a rather unattractive 179 metre glass and concrete tower, typical of the late 1960s (it was completed in 1969), but the window patterns make an interesting photographic subject ... as in the attached photos.
One of New York's oldest surviving buildings, City Hall is a beautiful example of early 19th century architecture. It was built in 1812 at the northern edge of New York City at the time (!) and is in fact the oldest still-functioning City Hall in the US. The exterior of the edifice was designed by the French-born architect Joseph Mangin, and shows unmistakable French influences, while the interior was decorated by John McComb. 200 years after its construction, the elegant edifice continues to function as the seat of the New York City government. Adjacent to City Hall is the beautiful City Hall Park which was once the village green, now a beautiful municipal park for a moment of relaxation while touring the area (see attached photos).
The Muscovite-Stalinist appearance of the enormous Municipal Building in New York City is no illusion. It is said to have later inspired Moscow to build its "Seven Sisters", the group of skyscrapers that are similar in architecture, between the years 1947-1953. New York's version, however, was completed in 1915, not long after the consolidation of NY's five boroughs into one city necessitated much larger municipal offices. The 177 metre tower is topped by a large statue called "Civic Fame" by the sculptor Adolph Weinman, and the building itself was designed in a mix of Beaux-Arts and Neoclassical styles to complement other civic buildings nearby. The wide Neoclassical arch that runs below the building is said to have been inspired by the Arch of Constantine in Rome.
Built between 1899-1909, the Hall of Records is one of New York's most beautiful Beaux-Arts style buildings. Its architect John Thomas had Opéra Garnier of Paris in mind when he designed certain parts of the building. Although originally named the Hall of Records, the building from the beginning housed both the Hall of Records and the Surrogate's Court. For some reason, in 1962, the official name of the building was changed to Surrogate's Courthouse. When I took the attached photos in Oct 09, the building was being wrapped in scaffolding for a restoration project, so the beauty of the building was unfortunately behind veils.
Completed in 1926, this hexagonal building with a Neoclassical portico was built to replace Tweed Courthouse as the New York County Courthouse. The building was designed by the Boston architect, Guy Lowell, who originally conceived a circular building, but later modified the design to a hexagonal shape. The Henry Fonda film "Twelve Angry Men" was filmed in this building.
Officially named the Old New York County Courthouse, the Tweed Courthouse gets its nickname from a certain infamous politician, William Tweed, who secured funding for its construction. It is strange that his name remained given that before construction was completed, he was convicted for embezzling millions. The gorgeous edifice combining Neoclassical with Renaissance-styles was designed by the architect John Kellum. Construction was stopped in 1872 during the trials of William Tweed, but was completed in 1881 by the architect Leopold Eidlitz, who added Romanesque details to the southern part of the building. Nowadays, the Courthouse houses the New York City Department of Education.
Designed by Cass Gilbert for the Woolworth Company headquarters, the Woolworth Building is one of New York's most famous skyscrapers. Upon completion in 1913, it was the world's highest building, standing at 241 metres. Although it ceded this title in 1930 to "40 Wall Street," it remains today as New York's 15th highest skyscraper (as of Oct 09). Height aside, the building is a breathtaking example of neo-Gothic architecture with richly decorated exterior and interior, all topped by a copper pyramidal roof. Sadly, the Woolworth Company went out of business in 1997, but it managed to leave a legacy behind for us to admire.
Opposite the City Hall you will find Woolworth Building. This is a massive building. At the entrance of the building you will see these great Gothic decorations.
The architect of this building is Cass Gilbert. He modeled his designs on the 1830s Houses of Parliament in London. It has 60-stories. The building is 792 feet (238 meter) high. In 1913 it was the tallest building in the world. This happened till 1929 when the Chrysler Building became the tallest building in the world.
The City Hall was build in 1812. The building features French forms (made by architect Joseph Francois Mangin) and the Federal forms (due to American John McComb Jr). The front was made out of white marble and the back was made out of brownstone. This was due to cut down costs.
It was originally build as a country villa, but since 1942 it is residence to the mayor.
If you cross the Brooklyn bridge from Brooklyn side into Manhattan, this park will should be your next stop.
Nearby there's the City Hall, Woolworth building and further south is to financial district.
City Hall Park is a nice place to stop and rest, watch the world go by. It is south of City Hall, and was totally restored in 1999.
Across from the SW corner of the park is the Woolworth Building, designed by Cass Gilbert and built in 1913. The gothic style skyscraper cost $1.5 million and was paid for in cash by the family who owned the then-famous chain of five-and-ten-cent stores. The inside vestibule is ornate but unfortunately tourists are not allowed in to see it anymore--shame on the management!
One of the best things about New York is you don’t have to pay or even go into a museum to enjoy great art. Just look around, you will be surprised how much art is on display in public spaces.
There is nothing more visually compelling than sculpture in an outdoor setting. Who can forget Cristo’s “Gates in Central Park?”
Right now, you can head downtown to the Park at City Hall for a visual treat. Five brilliant works by Alexander Calder are on display, set against the backdrop of the imposing elegance of City Hall’s 19th century architecture.
I’ll wager no sculpture looks better out of doors than Calder’s. His sculpture and mobiles are alive with movement. No matter how effectively presented in an interior space, they somehow appear confined, cramped ready to take off in flight. Many of his works certainly make me feel like flying.
You decide. Experience these five best by walking around them a few times. See how they change, as the environment changes with your every movement. Notice how different the shapes appear when viewed close to the nearby trees and shrubs. Now look at them from a wide angle against the buildings across the street. The mobile, Untitled, can be found in the rotunda of City Hall.
I hear you; “Sure I’d like to see them, but go downtown just for sculpture?” Think for a minute, isn’t there something you have been meaning to pick up at Century 21? Keep in mind, St Paul’s Chapel features a special 911 Exhibit, and there’s great shopping on Fulton Street, in Chinatown, and at the Seaport; while there, visit “Bodies, The Exhibit,” an educational treat that’s terrific for kids as well as adults.
Last but not least, who can forget all the restaurants at South Street?