Back of the City Hall Park is the COUNTY COURT House, which was built during the Tweed regime. iIt is a very rich and beautiful specimen of Corinthian architecture, particularly the hand some portico on Chambers street, but it would be built for much less money now. The walk between the City Hall and the Court House is called "Hand-Shaking Alley," so many politicians meet and greet one another here. The building east of the Court House was formerly the Criminal Court, where tens of thousands have awaited the verdict that was to set them free or send them to prison.
Across Chambers street is the HALL of RECORDS, in which provision is made for the safe-keeping of the deeds of all the real estate of Manhattan Island. The exterior sculptures of the Hall by Bush-Brown and Macmonnies, include figures of Commerce, Industry, Navigation, History, Poetry, Inscription, Preservation, Law, Maternity and Heritage; groups of the races—Indian, Dutch, English and Huguenot—which had part in the city's past; and statues of twenty-four men prominent in its development.
In front of the City Hall Park stands the Macmonnies bronze statue erected by the Society of the Sons of the Revolution in memory of NATHAN HALE, a Captain of the Regular Army of the United States of America, who gave his life for his country in the City of New York, Sept. 22, 1776.
In 1776, when the American troops had evacuated New York and were encamped on Harlem Heights, Captain Hale volunteered to enter the British lines on Long Island and secure for General Washington in-formation as to the strength and disposition of the enemy's forces. He was arrested, without trial sentenced to death as a spy, denied the presence of a clergyman or the use of a Bible in his last hours, and the letter he had written to his mother and sisters was destroyed before his face by his executioner. In all the annals of American history it would be difficult to find a more exalted sentiment of patriotism than his dying words, set here in letters of enduring bronze for the passing throngs to read :
"I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
The City Hall Park has always been a common. A bronze tablet in the corridor of the Post Office, erected by the Mary Washington Colonial Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, records that `"On the common of the City of New York, near where this building now stands, there stood from 1766 to 1776 a liberty pole erected to commemorate the repeal of the Stamp Act. It was repeatedly destroyed by the violence of the Tories, and as repeatedly replaced by the Sons of Liberty, who organized a constant watch and guard. In its defense the first martyr blood of the American Revolution was shed on Jan. 18, 1770."
There are two Subway stations in the Park, the City Hall Station and the Brooklyn Bridge Station, which is the largest on the line. A tablet in the pavement in front of the City Hall commemorates the breaking of ground for the tunnel construction by the Mayor on March 24, 1900
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