There are some of us to whom the little city hall park is very dear; it is our it of nature—not the real country, but a symbol of it, which, as we see t from day to day, tells us in miniature of the pageant of the seasons. We watch the tender green of its grass in the spring, and note the swelling buds and the unfolding leaves, and when the robin and the oriole stop here on their northward migration, we know that the birds are nesting in the orchards and the village elms. When the crumpled leaves strew the lawns, we see in fancy the painted panorama of the autumn hills; and in winter the diminutive expanses of snow are magnified into illimitable fields shrouded in white and still in the moonlight. This is the City Hall Park of suggestion.
The actual City Hall Pak is the center and head of the official life of New York. Here are the municipal and county buildings; the City Hall, with the offices of Mayor, Marshal and Sheriff, the halls of the Council and Assembly; and here are the courts with judges, jurors, lawyers and litigants. Here congregate the politicians, sleek, rotund, silk-hatted. Here to the Mayor's office come the Italians to be married, hundreds of couples every year. The park is the stamping ground of the newsboy and the bootblack, and here, too, we shall meet the gentleman who requests us to lend him two cents to get a night's lodging.
On the west Broadway rolls its ceaseless course; on the east is Park Row; on the north runs Chambers street, and on the south the Post Office occupies a site which was taken for it from the original park area. Looming up above the Post Office rises the Park Row Building. Fronting the park on the east is the Potter Building; adjoining is No. 39 Park Row; above and beyond it the American Tract Society Building; to the north is the home of the Tribune, founded by Horace Greeley; Ward's bronze statue of Greeley stands in front of the publication office. Adjoining the Tribune the Sun "shines for all" from the building which was, in 181i, the first Tammany Hall. High above its contemporaries the World occupies offices in the dome of the Pulitzer Building. The Brooklyn Bridge here interrupts the succession of Newspaper Row, but we may see beyond it the German Herold, with the herald sounding his trumpet on the roof.
The open space upon which the Tribune fronts is PRINTING House SQUARE. Over it presides Benjamin Franklin, the patron saint of Printerdom. The bronze statue is by Plassman.
The scene in Printing House Square is characteristic of a newspaper center. Crowds gather about the bulletin boards; great rolls of paper are unloading for the cylinder presses; yellow delivery wagons are scurrying away with yellower extras, and newsboys and newswomen obstruct the sidewalk and assail us with their shrill but not unmusical cries. If we cross over to Frankfort street, between the Sun and World.
In the late afternoon,in the city hall park we shall see, in the clamorous swarms of newsboys awaiting their papers, one of the sights of New York—one wonders where they all come from and where they all go to after they have passed beyond the newsboy stage. But the great spectacle of Printing House Square comes only once in four years. It is the scene of election night, when Square and Park are one surging mass of humanity gathered to read the returns displayed on newspaper office transparencies; to shout and hurrah with delight or groan and hoot in disgust as another county is heard from; to be entertained meanwhile by the newspaper brass bands and to entertain themselves with a thousand hideous, braying horns. It is a typical New York crowd, which means a good-natured crowd, an orderly crowd and a crowd of which it is good to be a part.
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