The architecture of even ordinary New York administrative buildings impresses and makes you fall in love with it forever. You can spend long hours wandering the streets of the metropolis and examining the details of majestic buildings as well as compact and cozy ones. New York City Hall is considered the oldest one in the United States, but if compared to the famous city halls in Europe, it is a relatively “young” building. It is open for a weekday tour, but a lot of citizens and tourists come to admire its architecture by themselves. Learn more at new-york-future.
Main facts from the City Hall history
The construction of City Hall was announced on October 4, 1802, which was based on the project made by the winner of the architectural competition, John McComb Jr. As well as John, French architect Joseph-Francois Mangin also won the competition. Thus, they worked together on the development of the project and were paid $350 for their ideas. Although, after all this time, the City Hall building looks almost teeny-tiny amid majestic skyscrapers, in the past it had a truly grand appearance.
City Hall was being built from 1802 to 1812 and the local government moved into it in the year of its opening. The first city hall, which was built back in 1653 on Coenties Slip Street, was demolished. In 1858, fireworks were shot off over City Hall to mark the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph wire, which resulted in the ignition of the City Hall dome and its main chamber. The restoration lasted for two years and was led by Leopold Eidlitz. After that incident, fireworks have never been set off on the square where City Hall is located.
At the end of the 19th century, all five boroughs of the metropolis united into one great New York. At that time, the City Hall building was used only by the City Mayor and the City Council, the judicial authorities moved to other places. Then it “survived” another redevelopment led by New York architect John Duncan. However, these were not the last changes in the appearance of City Hall. In different years various specialists and architectural companies worked on its improvement. City Hall experienced the biggest reconstruction in 1997 and the Cabrera Barricklo firm completely rebuilt its main chamber.
The City Hall architecture and its appearance after the 19th century
When City Hall was initially in the process of building, craftsmen used Massachusetts marble for the front facade and brown sandstone for the back of the building. By the mid-20th century, the condition of those materials had deteriorated significantly, and it was rebuilt with Alabama lime and Missouri granite. As you enter City Hall, first of all, you can see the main chamber with a marble staircase leading to the second floor. All official events take place in the Governor’s Room, which also has a picture gallery.
Looking at the photos of City Hall taken at different times, you can see skyscrapers springing up around so quickly like mushrooms. Most of the buildings surrounding City Hall are considered the tallest ones in New York, for instance, the World Building. City Hall is located in a picturesque park. An incredibly beautiful Post Office Building was built in its southern part. Unfortunately, nothing remained of it, as it was demolished in 1939, but its memory has been etched in old photos forever.
All New Yorkers have an opportunity to visit City Hall for free. There, they can learn from an experienced local historian about the history of this old building and see the arrangement of the offices, where important decisions for the city are made almost every day. An exclusive collection of paintings and beautiful architectural pieces are also available for viewing to all visitors. Here everyone will be able to touch the real history of New York.