City Hall

260 Broadway

Completed in 1812, New York’s third City Hall building is surrounded by a restored park occupying a unique place in American history. The spacious and elegant interior of City Hall has seen many changes throughout the ensuing 200 years, particularly ... more

Completed in 1812, New York’s third City Hall building is surrounded by a restored park occupying a unique place in American history. The spacious and elegant interior of City Hall has seen many changes throughout the ensuing 200 years, particularly where office space was created for the ever-growing number of workers. But renovations to the public reception room, known as the Blue Room, where the Mayor gives news conferences, have carefully restored and augmented this magnificent space, evident in the decorative woodwork and marble mantelpiece as well as the tasteful furnishings. Portraits of Thomas Jefferson, and Mayor DeWitt Clinton, among other notables, grace the room. Group tours are available for groups of 12 or more and need to be booked in advance by calling (212) 788-6870. In the seventeenth century, when Federal Hall on Wall Street served as the seat of New York City and State government, the original City Hall Park was called the Flats. Executions as well as the burial of slaves and the impoverished took place there. A public reading of the newly-signed Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776, at the Flats (also known as the Fields) led to a mob procession down B... more

Completed in 1812, New York’s third City Hall building is surrounded by a restored park occupying a unique place in American history. The spacious and elegant interior of City Hall has seen many changes throughout the ensuing 200 years, particularly where office space was created for the ever-growing number of workers. But renovations to the public reception room, known as the Blue Room, where the Mayor gives news conferences, have carefully restored and augmented this magnificent space, evident in the decorative woodwork and marble mantelpiece as well as the tasteful furnishings. Portraits of Thomas Jefferson, and Mayor DeWitt Clinton, among other notables, grace the room. Group tours are available for groups of 12 or more and need to be booked in advance by calling (212) 788-6870.


In the seventeenth century, when Federal Hall on Wall Street served as the seat of New York City and State government, the original City Hall Park was called the Flats. Executions as well as the burial of slaves and the impoverished took place there. A public reading of the newly-signed Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776, at the Flats (also known as the Fields) led to a mob procession down Broadway to Bowling Green, where a statue of English King George III was hacked apart. After the Revolutionary War, the park’s landscaping was improved, and in 1803 the cornerstone was laid for the new City Hall.


A painstaking restoration of City Hall Park, completed in 1999, restores its splendid 19th-century features; in particular, the Victorian fountain and surrounding gas bronze lamps anchor the park and reflect the grand history of America’s largest city. Flowering trees, flowerbeds and new landscaping give the park a scaled-down look, yet lend the area a more impressive and refined character. However, the new 21st-century security features, including new perimeter fences and ominous anti-terrorist devices have been roundly criticized for blocking pedestrians’ and protestors’ access, who in time-honored tradition complained bitterly: "You can’t fight City Hall."


Atop the cupola of City Hall is a sculpture of Justice, the third commissioned for this building. Both the building and its exquisite sculpture contrast with the towering Municipal Building across Park Row, High atop the Municipal Building, an ornate gold-leaf statue of Civic Virtue shines brilliantly in the sun. While City Hall may be eclipsed by the massive Municipal Building, when considering the mayor’s stature over his city’s bureaucrats, the reverse has always been true.


Do combine your visit to City Hall with a peek at the refurbished Tweed Courthouse behind it on Chambers Street. Tweed Courthouse now functions as the headquarters of the Board of Education, and was the most expensive public-works building ever constructed in American history. Cost overruns in the nineteenth century were extraordinary; cost overruns during the year 2000 reconstruction were another story entirely!


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Tribeca Description

City Hall is located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. TriBeCa, or the Triangle Below Canal Street, became a popular neighborhood for artists and others seeking relief from the rising prices in SoHo in the late 1980s. In some ways similar to the SoHo of decades past for its conversion of gritty old industrial warehouses into beautiful loft spaces, the real estate boom of the later 1990s transformed forever the small-town feeling of TriBeCa. No longer is it tough to find good food, grocery stores or newsstands. Chic boutiques now compete with high-end restaurants and bars, while the influx of upper-income families have led to the quick disappearance of the downright cheap apartment bargains of years past. Forbes magazine recently ranked the 10013 zip code in TriBeCa as the 12th most expensive zip code in the United States. Anonymous high-rises are sprouting up next to the historic older buildings, whose cast-iron façades and gleaming picture windows bespeak a New York of decades past. TriBeCa is a neighborhood where luxury apartments can be found adjacent to city government offices, where the quiet of cobblestone streets contrasts with the heavily trafficked truck routes to the Holland Tunnel, so one should expect the unexpected. In short, expect a microcosm of New York.

Recently the neighborhood profile has been raised tremendously by the new TriBeCa Film Festival. Founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal in 2002, this New York attraction was created to celebrate the city as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan. In a remarkably short period of time the TriBeCa Film Festival has become known as one of the leading annual film festivals in the world. Other famous film companies are in the neighborhood as well, most notably Miramax Films Studios on Greenwich Street.

In the 19th and 20th centuries TriBeCa was known as a center of the textile and cotton trade, but today in its stead there are a number of modern institutions and important landmarks in the neighborhood. The Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey has its entrances and exits in the northwest corner of TriBeCa. Washington Market Park, bordering Greenwich, Chambers, and West Streets, is a 1.6-acre park that is extremely popular with children for its large playground. While in terms of educational institutions, Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City's prized specialized science high schools, as well as PS234, an elementary school considered one of the best public schools in the New York metropolitan area, are located in TriBeCa.

Brunch, lunch and dinner activities in TriBeCa are highly regarded, not just due to the excellent (and usually expensive) cuisine options, but also in regard to the relative tranquil atmosphere of the neighborhood. Bubby's Restaurant on Varick Street remains popular among the film crowd and is known to be a family friendly restaurant. The Odeon on West Broadway provides the most beloved bistro setting and French comfort food in the neighborhood. And for more refined tastes, Robert De Niro has ownership in not one but two well-known local restaurants here. The TriBeCa Grill, located between Franklin and Greenwich Streets in the first two floors of the TriBeCa Film Center Building, offers classic American cuisine in a converted industrial warehouse setting, and Nobu, a favorite haunt of many New York celebrities, which serves innovative "new style Japanese cooking" to those who are willing to handle the hefty prices on the menu. In addition, the numerous David Bouley properties are always a favorite.

Staying in TriBeCa during a stay in Manhattan can offer visitors a welcome escape from the hectic, bustling streets of the neighborhoods in and near Midtown. An obvious choice would be the Tribeca Grand Hotel which plays host to the TriBeCa Film Festival and lies in close proximity to Little Italy, Chinatown, Hudson Square nightclubs, Greenwich Village, New York University, and Wall Street. The Greenwich Hotel, located on the Western edge of the neighborhood right next to the TriBeCa Grill, offers 13 luxury suites and 75 unique rooms. The Cosmopolitan Hotel in southern TriBeCa is geared to the needs of out-of-town visitors and has affordable rooms, a convenient location, and newly refurbished in-house restaurant, the Cosmopolitan Café.

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Info

260 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(212) 788-3000
Website

Editorial Rating

Admission And Tickets

Free

This Week's Hours

Varies

Nearby Subway

  • to Park Place
  • to Broadway-Nassau Street
  • to Fulton Street
  • to City Hall
  • train to the Brooklyn Bridge station or Fulton Street station

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