Many lives of Castle Clinton

A chameleon of function, Castle Clinton had many reincarnations, and it’s not finished changing yet. Built as a fortification, the masonry circular structure has functioned as an exhibition hall, theater, immigration station, public aquarium, and national monument. 1811-1822 Military Fort Along with other forts on Bedloe (Liberty) Island, Ellis Island, and Governor’s Island built to…

The Four Continents – a Close up

The Four Continents—four statues adorning the facade of the former United States Custom House—are allegorical representations of the four continents: Asia, America, Europe, and Africa. Created by Daniel Chester French, they represent the vision of Custom House architect Cass Gilbert, who chose the theme to represent the building’s main function—international commerce. Flanking the main entrance are…

St. Paul’s—a Chapel Older than the United States

Built in 1766, St. Paul’s is New York City’s oldest public building in continuous use as well as Manhattan’s oldest surviving church building. After Manhattan fell to the British in 1776, a raging fire set the city ablaze. Nobody knows for certain whether the fire was an accident or an act of arson by retreating…

Integrity Presiding over the New York Stock Exchange

The group within the pediment over the New York Stock Exchange is entitled “Integrity Protecting the Works of Man,” which makes it fair to assume that the central female figure in the sculpture is Integrity herself. She is tasked with “Protecting the Works of Man”—with Industry on one side and Agriculture on the other. The…

Trinity Church — on Wall Street since 17th century

The present day Trinity Church—a glorious Neo-Gothic edifice—is the third church built on the same exact spot. The original Trinity Church, built in 1698, was the first Anglican Church in the city. His majesty King William III granted Trinity a royal charter at the cost of 1 peppercorn a year, allowing it to function as…

Federal Hall—over 300 years of American History

Imagine visiting the locations where America’s freedom of the press was born, the slogan that started American revolution—”no taxation without representation”—was declared, the Bill of Rights was penned, and George Washington took the oath of office to become the first president of the United States. But you don’t have to visit different places: all of…

The Municipal Building – a Beaux-Arts Skyscraper

In 1898, when Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx were consolidated into the 5 million-strong metropolis of Greater New York , the old City Hall proved no longer sufficient to house city government. The Municipal Building was subsequently erected to fulfill this need and still stands as one of the largest government office…

The Amazing Brooklyn Bridge

This wondrous bridge was the first to span the East River and connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. Upon completion it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, with its towers standing taller than the rest of the country’s man-made structures! Designed by bridge-builder genius John Augustus Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was an astonishing feat of…

Charging Bull – One Giant Christmas Present

The Charging Bull, representing a rising market, is one of the most easily recognizable symbols of Wall Street. The Charging Bull was created by sculptor Arturo Di Modica in his Soho studio on Crosby Street. Conceived by the sculptor as an antidote for the sour mood caused by the 1987 stock market crash known as…

Statue of Liberty Pedestal and the Invention of Fundraising

Nobody had attempted building a colossus since the Colossus of Rhodes, the towering wonder of the ancient world — until the Statue of Liberty. Constructing such an edifice presented not only titanic technical obstacles but also a formidable financial challenge. Raising funds for building the modern-day colossus — Lady Liberty — is the story of…

Statue of Liberty – an American Colossus

The iconic statue was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France. Location: Liberty Island (Bedloe Island) Built: 1884 Dedicated: 1886 Sculptor: Frederic Auguste Bartholdi Engineer: Gustave Eiffel Pedestal: Richard Morris Hunt Lady Liberty was christened “Liberty Enlightening the World” and gifted to the people of the United States…