New York City Hall
New York City Hall is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center section of Lower Manhattan between Broadway, Park Row and Chambers Street. The building is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions, such as the office of the Mayor of New York City and the chambers of the New York City Council. Constructed from 1803 to 1812, New York City Hall is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its exterior and interior are designated New York City landmarks.

History
New York's first City Hall was built by the Dutch in the 17th century on Pearl Street. The city's second City Hall, built in 1700, stood on Wall and Nassau Streets. That building was renamed Federal Hall after New York became the first official capital of the United States after the Revolutionary War. Plans for building a new City Hall were discussed by the New York City Council as early as 1776, but the financial strains of the war delayed progress. The Council chose a site at the old Common at the northern limits of the City, now City Hall Park. In 1802 the City held a competition for a new City Hall. The first prize of $350 was awarded to John McComb Junior and Joseph Francois Mangin. McComb, whose father had worked on the old City Hall, was a New Yorker and designed Castle Clinton in Battery Park. Mangin studied architecture in his native France before becoming a New York City surveyor in 1795 and publishing an official map of the city in 1803. Mangin was also the architect of the landmark St. Patrick's Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street. Construction of the new City Hall was delayed after the City Council objected that the design was too extravagant. In response, McComb and Mangin reduced the size of the building and used brownstone at the rear of the building to lower costs (the brownstone, along with the original deteriorated Massachusetts marble facade, quarried from Alford, Massachusetts, was replaced with Alabama limestone in 1954 to 1956). Labor disputes and an outbreak of yellow fever further slowed construction. The building was not dedicated until 1811. It officially opened in 1812. The building's Governor's Room hosted President-elect Abraham Lincoln in 1861, and his coffin was placed on the staircase landing across the rotunda when he lay in state in 1865 after his assassination. Ulysses S. Grant also lay in state beneath the soaring rotunda dome as did Colonel Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, first Union officer killed in the Civil War and commander of the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment (First Fire Zouaves). The Governor's Room, which is used for official receptions, also houses one of the most important collections of 19th century American portraiture and notable artifacts such as George Washington's desk. There are 108 paintings from the late 18th century through the 20th. The New York Times declared it "almost unrivaled as an ensemble, with several masterpieces." Among the collection is John Trumbull’s 1805 portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the source of the face on the United States ten-dollar bill. There were significant efforts to restore the paintings in the 1920s and 1940s. In 2006 a new restoration campaign began for 47 paintings identified by the Art Commission as highest in priority. On July 23, 2003 at 2:08 p.m., City Hall was the scene of a rare political assassination. Othniel Askew, a political rival of City Councilman James E. Davis, opened fire with a pistol from the balcony of the City Council chamber. Askew shot Davis twice, fatally wounding him. A police officer on the floor of the chamber then fatally shot Askew. Askew and Davis had entered the building together without passing through a metal detector, a courtesy extended to elected officials and their guests. As a result of the security breach Mayor Michael Bloomberg revised security policy to require that everyone entering the building pass through metal detectors without exception.

Architecture
The architectural style of City Hall combines two famous historical movements; French Renaissance (exterior design) and American- Georgian (interior design). The building consists of a central pavilion with two projecting wings. The design of City Hall influenced at least two later civic structures, the Tweed Courthouse and the Surrogate's Courthouse. The entrance, reached by a long flight of steps, has figured prominently in civic events for over a century and a half. There is a columned entrance portico capped by a balustrade, and another balustrade at the roof. The domed tower in the center was rebuilt in 1917 after the last of two major fires. The original deteriorated Massachusetts marble facade, quarried from Alford, Massachusetts, with brownstone on the rear, was completely reclad with Alabama limestone above a Missouri granite base in 1954-6. On the inside, the rotunda is a soaring space with a grand marble stairway rising up to the second floor, where ten fluted Corinthian columns support the coffered dome. The rotunda has been the site of municipal as well as national events. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant lay in state here, attracting enormous crowds to pay their respects. City Hall is a designated New York City Landmark. It is also listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Functions
Official receptions are held in the Governor's room, which has hosted many dignitaries including the Marquis de Lafayette and Albert Einstein.
  • The historic Blue Room is where New York City mayors have been giving official press conferences for decades and is often used for bill-signing ceremonies.
  • Room 9 is the legendary press room at City Hall where reporters file stories in cramped quarters.
While the Mayor's Office is in the building in a room called The Bullpen, the staff of thirteen municipal agencies under mayoral control are located in the nearby Manhattan Municipal Building, one of the largest government buildings in the world. The steps of City Hall frequently provide a backdrop for political demonstrations and press conferences concerning city politics. Live, unedited coverage of events at City Hall is carried on NYCTV channel 74, a City government official cable television channel. Fencing surrounds the building's perimeter, with a strong security presence by the New York City Police Department. Public access to the building is restricted to tours and to those with specific business appointments.

Neighborhood
The area around City Hall is commonly referred to as Manhattan's Civic Center. Most of the neighborhood consists of government offices (city, state and federal), as well as an increasing number of upscale residential dwellings being converted from older commercial structures. Architectural landmarks such as St. Paul's Chapel, St. Peters Church, the Woolworth Building, Tweed Courthouse, the Manhattan Municipal Building, the Park Row Building, One Police Plaza, and the Brooklyn Bridge surround City Hall. City Hall Park is approximately three blocks away from the site of the former World Trade Center.

City Hall Station
Located directly under City Hall plaza is City Hall Station, the original southern terminal of the first line of the New York City Subway built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). Opened on October 27, 1904, this station beneath the public area in front of City Hall was designed to be the showpiece of the new subway. Considered to be one of the most beautiful subway stations in the system, the station is unusually elegant in architectural style. The platform and mezzanine feature Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tile work and brass chandeliers. Passenger service was discontinued on December 31, 1945, although the station is still used as a turning loop for 6 <6> trains. The nearest open subway stations to City Hall are Brooklyn Bridge ”“ City Hall (IRT Lexington Avenue Line) ( 4 5 6 <6> trains), City Hall (BMT Broadway Line) ( N R trains), and Park Place (IRT Broadway ”“ Seventh Avenue Line) ( 2 3 trains).

Inside City Hall

City Hall in popular culture
New York City Hall has played a central role in several films and television series.
  • Spin City (1996”“2002), set in City Hall, starred Michael J. Fox as a Deputy Mayor making efforts to stop the dim-witted Mayor from embarrassing himself in front of the media and voters.
  • City Hall (1996) starred Al Pacino as an idealistic Mayor and John Cusack as his Deputy Mayor, who leads an investigation with unexpectedly far-reaching consequences into an accidental shooting.
  • In the 1984 movie Ghostbusters the Mayor summons the protagonists to City Hall to discuss the impending end of the world.
  • NY1 has a show called Inside City Hall which focuses on the day's political news. The New York Post has a column by the same name started by then City Hall Bureau Chief George Arzt. The column is now written by David Seifman.
  • In the animated series Futurama City Hall is named CitiHall in the distant future, a portmanteau of City Hall and Citibank, possibly implying a merger between City Hall and the international bank headquartered in New York City.
  • City Hall is also referenced in the folk song The Irish Rover as performed by The Pogues and The Dubliners:
In the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and six, We set sail from the Coal Quay of Cork We were sailing away with a cargo of bricks For the grand City Hall in New York Although the dates match those of City Hall, there is no recorded usage of Irish bricks in the building's construction. However this is no surprise as in the song its mentioned in fact "The Irish Rover" never actually arrived in New York, but "struck a rock" and sank instead. So it is entirely possible that Irish bricks were planned to be used, but there are no definite records to either support or deny this. If the Irish Rover set sail in 1806 it would have been 1813 seven years later when it sank, AFTER the City Hall was completed.