CITY HALL AND THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING




CITY HALL (top), designed by Joseph-Francois Mangin and John McComb, Jr., is one of the City’s most beautiful 19th Century buildings.  The Federal-style building with French Renaissance influences has a domed rotunda with a cooper ceiling, a coffered dome with a skylight, a cupola supporting the figure of Justice holding the scale of justice and a sword, and twin spiral magnificent marble staircases.  Both Presidents Lincoln and Grant were laid in state at City Hall.  Here the building is seen through trees in City Hall Park  near the Woolworth Building.  Construction of this City Hall, considered  a masterpiece, was completed in 1811.    The original City Hall stood at 71-73 Pearl Street  (in 1653).  Another was  built in 1700 to the Northeast corner of Wall and Nassau Streets.   Also in this neighborhood were Astor House, a large hotel, Barnum's American Museum and an area known as newspaper row with the Tribune Building and the World Building (where Joseph Pulitzer's New York World newspaper was published).

The MUNICIPAL BUILDING, home to many NYC agencies including the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, was modeled after the Italian sculpture and architect Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini’s colonnade at Rome’s St. Peter’s Church.  Designed by architects MCKIM MEAD AND WHITE, it was built in 1914 and was the first building in Manhattan “to incorporate a subway as an integral part of its base.”   The Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall subway station is partially below the Municipal Building and the Brooklyn Bridge itself nearby.  Over 1.2 million marriage ceremonies  (as of Fall 2008) have been performed at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau in this building since 1916.  Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft were married here in 1964.  The Manhattan Marriage Bureau moved to a new downtown location, an Art Deco building that was once the State Department of Motor Vehicles, in the fall of 2008.

Architecture historians have noted that many of the most striking architectural designs in New York City in the 20th Century have been either major civic buildings or ones that were monuments to corporate power. 

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