The City Hall, City Hall Park and The Hall of Records.
Above the Post Office, that has been called the ugliest building in America, is City Hall Park, in the center of which stands the City Hall (frontispiece) that has, and not with-out some justice, been styled the most beautiful public building in the United States.
It was designed by John McComb and was completed in 1814, its Italian Renaissance character being affected somewhat by the pillared portico and cupola of the neo-classical English style of the eighteenth century.
The City Hall is a veritable treasure house of early American art. Within its halls and rooms are hung portraits of great Americans of the early days of the nation by such distinguished painters as John Trumbull, Thomas Sully, John Wesley Jarvis, John Vanderlyn, Samuel L. Waldo, S. F. B. Morse, Henry Inman, Charles Loring Elliott, and Thomas Hicks.
The Governor's Room, on the second floor, contains many interesting pieces of official furniture used by George Washington and some of the other "fathers" of the country.
This room and the adjoining ones of the suite have recently been restored to harmonize with the period of the structure and have become works of art in themselves.
The Council Chamber across the hall is another interesting room, owing to the perfection of its proportions and of its Georgian style of decorations. On the upper floor of the building are the rooms of the Municipal Art Commission, well worth a visit owing to the fact that one of them is completely furnished with Colonial and Dutch furniture that has come down to us from the eighteenth and seventeenth centuries.
In the park before the City Hall stands MacMonnies's statue of Nathan Hale, one of the finest statues in the city and as stirring as the story of Hale's career. Across Park Row, in what is officially styled Printing House Square, is Plassman's statue of Benjamin Franklin, while before the Tribune Building is J. Q. A. Ward's seated figure of Horace Greeley, the founder of that newspaper.
The Hall of Records on Chambers Street, at the north end of the park, is ornamented with forty-five statues, including portraits of former mayors of the city, single figures representing the arts and sciences, and groups and figures typifying the seasons, the law, and civic spirit. Crowning the lofty Municipal Building, whose arched passage across Chambers Street forms such a striking feature at this corner of the park, is Weinmann's gilded statue typifying the spirit of the city. Standing within the archway, the Woolworth Building looms up in the full beauty of its fifty-one stories.
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