Southwest of the City Hall Park, on Broadway, opposite the Post Office, is the Woolworth Building, its tower rising to a height of 750 feet above the sidewalk—the highest inhabited building in the world. West is the Postal Telegraph Building, and next is the Home Life, whose white marble front is one of the most beautiful in town. On the corner of Chambers street rise the square towers of the Shoe and Leather Bank. Beside it is the Chemical Bank. On the upper side of Chambers street is the 17-story Broadway-Chambers. The dingy marble office building opposite was formerly the wholesale store of A. T. Stewart, built on the site of an old negro graveyard. Rising above it is the handsome Dun Building; east of this is the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, and still further cast is the tremendous bulk of the MUNICIPAL BUILDING.
Here are some statistics of the structure, but they are unimpressive in comparison with the effect produced by the actual sight of the building itself. There are thirty-four stories, of which eight are in the tower. Height from sidewalk to top of the 24-foot figure surmounting the tower, 539 feet. Height of tower, from twenty-sixth story, 210 feet. Height from Subway station arcade, 559 feet. Office space, 651,000 square feet. The foundation contract was the largest ever given in the country. Depth of foundation 130 feet, of which co feet is below water level. Area of basement, over two acres. Area of first floor, 43,000 square feet. Frontage on Center street, 448 feet; Park Row, 361 feet; Duane street, 339 feet; Tryon Row, 71 feet.
In contrast to the bigness of the Municipal Building is the City Hall, an architectural feature of the City Hall Park in which New Yorkers take just pride, and one which is much admired by architects for the well-balanced and symmetrical design and the purity of its classic details. It was completed in 1812. The Goddess of Justice, holding her even scales on the cupola, is not so ancient as that; the statue is the successor of the original figure, which was burned when the Hall caught fire from the fireworks during the great celebration of the laying of the Atlantic Cable in August, 1858. The Hall is built of white marble, but the rear wall is of freestone, for the builders of 1812 surmised that the city would never go beyond this.
Today the city limits are sixteen miles north. The Mayor's room is on the first floor. Under one of its windows on the outside is a tablet recording: "Near this spot, in the presence of General George Washington, the Declaration of Independence was read and published to the American Army, July 9th, 1776."
The halls of the Council and Assembly are on the second floor, and may he visited. The GOVERNOR'S Room, originally intended for the use of the Governor of the State, is on the second floor. Across the hall is a statue of Thomas Jefferson, by David d'Angers, a replica of the one in the Capitol at Washington. The Governor's Room, which is open to the public from to to 4 daily (Saturday to noon), contains Trumbull's full-length equestrian portrait of General Washington, and a series of portraits of New York's Governors and other worthies. That of Governor Dix, by Anna M. Lea, represents him as author of the historic dispatch sent by him as Secretary of the Treasury to Wm. Hemphill Jones in New Orleans, Jan. 29, 1861: "If any one attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot." An easel bears a Washington portrait woven in silk in Lyons, France, at a cost of $10,000. Here, too, are preserved the desk and table used by President Washington during his first term. The table is inscribed in letters of gold: "Washington's writing table, 1789." The fine old mahogany furniture is that which was used by the first Congress of the United States in Federal Hall, in Wall Street.
The City Hall and the City Hall Park has been the scene of many festal celebrations and of solemnities as well. Here in April of 1865 the martyred Lincoln lay in state to receive a tribute of affection and sorrow from a half-million people; and here in 1885, for a day and a night, the unbroken lines passed reverently by the bier of Grant. Here in 1881 rested the body of the explorer, De Long, rescued from the desolation of the Arctic wastes; and hither, in 1882, from the ship which had brought him from the alien soil of Tunis, they bore the remains of John Howard Payne, to the measured strains of his own "Home, Sweet Home."
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