NYC: Nathan Hale City Hall Park

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NYC: Nathan Hale City Hall Park
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Nathan Hale Park, or City Hall Park, called the Common in the 18th century when it was at the northern edge of the city on a triangular plot formed by the confluence of the Bloomingdale Road (now Broadway) and the Boston Post Road (now Park Row and father north, the Bowery). On the Common a prison was constructed, and nearby, a poor house, as well as a powder house and barracks as part of the city’s defenses. After the Revolution, the city entered a new era of prosperity and growth that required the construction of a new City Hall. The park was enlarged to its present size in the late 1930’s with he razing of the old Federal Building that occupied most of the southern corner of the triangle and housed a post office and court.

Originally designed in 1871, Jacob Wrey Mould’s ornate granite Victorian fountain, was installed in front of the Post Office that stood at the triangular tip of City Hall Park. Dubbed "Mullet’s monstrosity", plans were underway to demolish the post office by 1920 and the fountain was disassembled and moved to Crotona Park in the Bronx. Because of a land-rights dispute between the city and federal authorities, the building stood until 1938, when the beautification of City Hall Park for the 1939 World’s Fair hastened its demise. When Rudy Giuliani observed the unfinished status of the park upon taking his second oath of office as mayor, he decided to do something about it. City Hall Park was renovated in 1999 to return to its pre-Civil War splendor as part of his legacy. Jacob Wrey Mould Fountain was returned from the Bronx to the Park, to replace the Delacorte Fountain, which opened in 1977. At night the fountain is lit by four gas bronze candelabras, reconstructed from Mould’s designs, and underwater floodlights. The fountain is a granite basin with semi-circular pools on each side of a central cascade.

New York City Hall, on Murray Street between Broadway and Park Row, is the seat of government of the City of New York. City Hall houses the mayor’s office and the New York City Council. The New York City Hall building was designed by John McComb, Jr. and Joseph François Mangin. Construction of the City Hall building began in 1803 and was completed in 1812. The building’s front facade is marble and granite, while the back is sandstone. The building’s distinctive cupola has served as a model for spires on other buildings, notably Eliot House at Harvard University.

City Hall was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1966. The interior was designated in 1976.

City Hall National Register #66000539

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