seaport and civic center

bogardus-258_l.jpg (37807 bytes) scc004.jpg (43415 bytes) 04B.jpg (12796 bytes) [199 Water St. (26k)]
001 Schermerhorn Row 002 Bogardus Building 003 Pier 17. 004 Fulton Fish Market 005 One Seaport Plaza
Pict0498.jpg (125049 bytes) Pict0519.jpg (136719 bytes) [127 John St. (36k)] Pict0479.jpg (128257 bytes) 010A.jpg (56379 bytes)
006 ILX Systems (Aetna) 007 Fulton Building 008 127 John St. 009 Down Town Assoc. 010 American International Building
011F.jpg (48735 bytes)
Park Row Building
morse.jpg (41391 bytes) Pict0535.jpg (140358 bytes)
011 Potter Building
012 Park Row Building
013 Morse Building 014 Bennet Building 015 Royal globe Insurance Company
Temple Court Building - Photo credit Carl Forster 018A.jpg (73158 bytes) 019X.jpg (53270 bytes) 020A.jpg (142256 bytes)
016 Excelsior Power Company 017 Temple Court 018 American Tract Society Building. 019 Woolworth Building 020 NYC Police Headquarters
021c.jpg (60131 bytes) Pict0702.jpg (125763 bytes) Pict0675.jpg (129491 bytes) MOSCOWU2.jpg (40869 bytes)
021 United States Courthouse 022 New York County Courthouse 023 St. Andrew’s Church 030A Stalinist Architecture inspired by the Municipal Building 025 63 Nassau St.
026E.jpg (44765 bytes) 253 Broadway Manhattan Criminal Court Pict0711.jpg (121024 bytes) SCC30-mun3.jpg (39357 bytes)
026 City Hall 027 Home Life Insurance 028 Criminal Courts Building 029 New York County Courthouse 030 Municipal Building
Pict0662.jpg (123844 bytes) Pict0028.jpg (135001 bytes) SCC033-center_st_firehouse.jpg (28451 bytes)
031 Surrogate’s Court 032 Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building 033 Engine Company No. 31 034 Baltimore Copper Paint Co. 035 Tobacco Warehouse


The residential section of the city gives way to commerce creating the northern section of what was then the singular business district of the city, the Battery to City Hall.

When it was still an affluent residential quarter of the city, Trinity Church built a small chapel. This church, St. Paul's Chapel, is the city's finest pre-Revolutionary War building. A fine example of English/American 18th century church design, St. Paul's chapel sits in the middle of a large churchyard. The empty air above the churchyard might now be considered a valuable asset for future development near the church. Row houses on Broadway surrounded St. Paul's, and made an appropriate setting for the church during the early 19th Century. Nearby is the impressive City Hall which was built atop a small triangular park. Architects Mangin and McComb won a competition in 1803 and created an exceptional building with elaborate detailing far in excess of other city buildings. City Hall seems to sit at the top of the early 19th Century city to its south, embracing the city below.

Gradually the houses gave way to commerce and the location near City Hall caused Park Row to evolve into a street of politicians' quarters, then the newspaper industry. At Park Row, the buildings rose higher as the newspaper business grew, making it the site of some of the city's first skyscrapers. The introduction of the telephone freed reporters from the need to be near City Hall, leading to the relocation of newspapers uptown in the early 20th century.

Another business closely associated with the City Hall region is the insurance industry, which was concentrated on and above Chambers Street.

The modern hotel also originated near City Hall with the great Astor Hotel of the early 1830s. Joining the world of visitors and commerce came a number of shops which were placed in the old red brick row houses, making Broadway the premier shopping center of the United States. At Chambers Street at Broadway the enterprising merchant, A.T. Stewart opened America's first department store in a white marble Renaissance palace in 1846.

Large as City Hall seemed in the early 19th century, it was inadequate to serve the needs of the large New York City community by the end of the century. City government buildings sprung up around City Hall and two notable turn-of-our-century examples remain. We visit first the Hall of Records, now called Surrogate's Court. This elaborate Beaux Arts building, a politician's festival, has a stunning interior court. Just east of the Surrogate's Court, the city's other major new government building, the Municipal Building, soars over the city. Begun in 1907, the building was a construction nightmare since the city's bedrock falls off here, and the first IRT subway roared beneath it. The Municipal Building mimics City Hall but it was built on a 20th Century scale.