Architecture/historical walking tour of downtown Manhattan
Beginning in the 1690s, and lasting until the mid-1790s, there were both free and enslaved Africans buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground, located in Lower Manhattan in New York City. During the time of the burials, this location existed outside the boundaries of the New Amsterdam settlement, known today as New York City. Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of a Federal office building.
The Manhattan Municipal Building, also known as the David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, is a government administration building located at 1 Centre Street in Manhattan. Constructed began in 1907 and was completed in 1914, the Manhattan Municipal Building has served numerous needs of Manhattan’s citizens in its many years of service. In February of 1966, it was designated as a New York City Landmark, and in October of 1972, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the Manhattan Municipal Building continues to serve the citizens of Manhattan through a variety of governmental services.
New York City's City Hall houses the city’s government offices, such as the Mayor of New York City and the chambers of the 51 New York City Council members. It is the oldest city hall in the nation that still serves its original purpose, and is considered one of the finest architectural achievements of its period. Tours are offered to the public; however, they must be scheduled in advanced. It is located at the center of City Hall Park between Broadway, Park Row, and Chambers Street.
The Woolworth Building is an early North American skyscraper, and one of the 100 tallest buildings in the United States. Completed in 1913, the Woolworth Building was the dream building of Frank W. Woolworth, head of the Woolworth Company, which occupied the building for 85 years. It has been designated as a New York City Landmark, a National Historic Landmark, and has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now owned by the Witkoff Group, the Woolworth Building is still in use and tours are available.
St. Paul's Chapel was built between 1764 and 1766. It was the tallest building in the city at that time, and remains the oldest surviving church in Manhattan. George Washington attended services at this chapel, and visitors can see his original pew inside the church. Washington and members of Congress also attended a special service at the church prior to his inauguration on April 30, 1789. At the time, the church was one of the largest public buildings to have survived the Great New York Fire of 1776. It also survived the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, without any damage and became the center of relief operations for rescue workers in the aftermath of the attack. The church is also home to the first monument commissioned by the United States Congress. The monument is located on the east side of the church and honors Patriot Richard Montgomery. Benjamin Franklin personally oversaw the construction of the monument after Congress commissioned its creation on January 25, 1776.
199 Fulton Street at the corner of Fulton and Church gives you a beautiful view of The Oculus as well as the seating area in front of it. This location is just a block from the major shopping that the Westfield World Trade Center mall provides, as well as being within walking distance of world-famous restaurants such as Eataly and Nobu. This location is also within walking distance to many other tourist spots such as City Hall and St. Patrick's Chapel.
Created in 1968 as part of an agreement between the Manhattan borough leaders and United States Steel, this public park was among the areas damaged by the September 11th terrorist attacks. The park, like the rest of the surrounding structures and plazas, was rebuilt and now offers a blend of tourists and business people enjoying the space together. The park was the site of numerous public ceremonies in the years following the attack, and it reopened in the spring of 2006 following an $8 million renovation project. The park was also the location of the Occupy Wall Street protests that saw activists encamped throughout the park until they were evicted by the city police in November 2011. The park is named in honor of John E. Zuccotti, the chairman of Brookfield Ofice Properties that acquired the real estate from US Steel. The park features the 70-foot tall outdoor sculpture Joie de Vivre by artist Mark di Suvero.
The current church is the third Trinity Church that was constructed in 1846. The history of this church dates back to the founding of its Episcopal parish in 1697. Trinity Church was established by royal charter and became the first Anglican Church in New York. Inside this historic church is the Trinity Museum with exhibits about the history of Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel, another historic church that is also a member of the parish. Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel are surrounded by a number of historic monuments and burial plots.
Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel in the same location his son, Philip, was killed by the same means just three years earlier, but questions of whether Hamilton intended to hit his target or not that day still arise. Hamilton, however, is better known for his life’s legacy rather than his death. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, friend to George Washington, and author of the Federalist Papers, Hamilton was one of the most influential men of his time. He was instrumental in the formation of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, opposing the Articles of Confederation and using his influence to alter the course of history.
The Empire Building is a historic skyscraper building located in Manhattan’s Financial District. The building is built on the site of an office building that was constructed in 1859. Completed in 1898, the Empire Building was the headquarters of the United States Steel Corporation from the founding of the corporation in 1901 until 1976. It was designated as a New York City Landmark in June of 1996, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August of 1998.
The NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street and is composed of four rooms used for the facilitation of trading. A fifth trading room, located at 30 Broad Street, was closed in February 2007. The main building, located at 18 Broad Street, between the corners of Wall Street and Exchange Place, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
Designed by sculptor Kristen Visbal, the bronze statue symbolizes female empowerment. Commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, an investment management firm headquartered in Boston, as part of its ongoing campaign to persuade other companies in the United States to add more women to their boards, the sculpture depicts a defiant young girl, roughly four-foot-tall, with her hands on her hips, shoulders back, and a confident smirk on her face. Originally installed as a temporary art piece opposite Arturo Di Modica’s iconic bronze bull in Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan, the statue was moved to its new, permanent home in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 2018.
Federal Hall National Memorial is located at the former site of New York's city hall which was constructed in 1703 and later became the first seat of the United States government. The current building was completed in 1842 and is now operated by the National Park Service. The original city hall from the colonial era was the site of the famous trial of John Peter Zenger. In 1765, this was also where the Stamp Act Congress met with delegates from different colonies protesting their dissatisfaction with "taxation without representation." After the Revolutionary War, it was here that George Washington was inaugurated, and this is also the place where the Bill of Rights was proposed and ratified. Federal Hall served as the seat of government from 1789 until 1790 when the U.S. capital was moved to Philadelphia. The original building was demolished in 1812, and this building was constructed and opened for service in 1842 as a U.S. custom house. At the end of the Great Depression, the building began its transition to its current use as a heritage site. Federal Hall is now operated by the National Park Service with artifacts and tours that interpret the colonial era and early republic with an emphasis on the role played by the city of New York.
23 Wall Street, also known as "The Corner," is an office building situated in Manhattan's Financial District at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street. The structure was designed by the architectural firm of Trowbridge and Livingston. Completed in 1914 as the headquarters for the J.P. Morgan and Co., the four-story bank still stands today, although scarred by small pockmarks from the infamous anarchist’s bomb attack that killed 38.
Created by Italian-American sculptor Arturo Di Modica following the stock market crash of 1987, the bronze statue symbolizes American resiliency and strives to inspire hope for the future. A piece of guerrilla art, the sculpture measures sixteen feet in length, eleven feet in height, and weighs seven thousand pounds. Late on the night of December 15, 1989, Di Modica and his accomplices transported the statue on a flatbed truck and placed it in front of the New York Stock Exchange in Lower Manhattan. The following day, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange had it removed. Increasing public outcry over the statue’s removal, however, impelled New York City Parks Department commissioner Henry J. Stern to arrange for the bronze bull to be temporarily placed in Bowling Green, a small public park in Lower Manhattan and the closest one to Wall Street. On December 20, only four days after the statue was removed from the front of the New York Stock Exchange, city workers installed it in the park. The following day, Stern officially unveiled it. Despite the fact that Bowling Green was intended originally to serve as its temporary home, the bronze statue remains in the park to this day and has become one of the most significant tourist attractions in Lower Manhattan. Over the years, the sculpture has witnessed protests, suffered vandalism, and survived attempts by public officials to relocate it.
Located on the southeast corner of the building at 1 Broadway, this plaque commemorates the history of Fort Amsterdam, which was located here and served as the command center for Dutch, and subsequent British, rule in New York. Construction of the fort began in 1625 and marks one of the central events in the establishment of Nieuw Amsterdam, the community that later became New York. The fort was a strategic stronghold to protect movement up the Hudson River. It was torn down after the Revolutionary War ended and was later the site of homes, a hotel, and then this modern structure in 1920.
Before this site housed the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House that still stands there today, it was home to Fort George. It was at this site that the first of several fires, which together are known as The Conspiracy of 1741, the Negro Plot of 1741, or the Slave Insurrection of 1741, began to burn. Slaves were accused of setting this fire and many others across the city, and in a series of trials riddled with coercion, bribery, and questionable judicial practices, multiple black people and a few white people were convicted in connection to the supposed plot. The decisions of the cases connected to the conspiracy likely only increased the already present anti-black prejudices and fear of slave revolts throughout New York and the rest of the colonies.
Located in The Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan, the monument commemorates Italian navigator and explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485-1528). Sailing for France, he made three voyages to the New World in the early sixteenth century. On his first expedition in 1524, Verrazzano explored the east coast of North America, discovering New York Harbor, Block Island, and Narragansett Bay. Designed by sculptor Ettore Ximenes, the monument consists of a larger-than-life-sized bronze bust of the Italian explorer and a bronze female allegorical figure representing discovery. Both are situated on an elaborate granite pedestal. The product of the fundraising efforts of Carlo Barsotti, an Italian immigrant and editor of the influential Italian-language newspaper Il Progresso, the monument was dedicated on October 6, 1909.
Castle Clinton is located on the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. Southwest Battery Fort was built as one of four forts in New York to help defend against the British in the War of 1812. The fort was then leased to New York and renamed Castle Clinton. Shortly after, the castle was repurposed to become the first immigrant processing facility in the nation. Castle Clinton also hosted the New York City Aquarium, one of the biggest attractions in the city. Today, the castle is a national historical landmark open to the public.
Battery Park is a 25-acre public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. With access to the harbor and the Hudson River, Battery Park is where the history of New York City began.
Fraunces Tavern Museum is located inside a building that was completed in 1719 as a home for the family of Stephen De Lancey. Samuel Fraunces purchased the building in 1762 and operated the Queen's Head Tavern. Leading up to the American Revolution, the tavern was the site of many important political discussions among colonists. After the war, the building housed the new government's departments of Foreign Affairs, War, and Treasury from 1785 to 1788. In 1900, the aging building was almost razed until an effort was made by the Sons of the Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the founder of the Society for the Preservation of Scenic and Historic Places succeeded in saving the historic building. In 1907, a combination museum and restaurant opened in this building. This business thrived for many years and in 1981, preservationists and historians restored the second floor's "Long Room" as a colonial tavern. The museum continues to expand and now offers nine galleries filled with artifacts and exhibits related to the history of New York and the American Revolution. The restaurant is open daily.