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Thread: The City Hall Post Office - by A.B. Mullett - (Demolished)

  1. #46
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I can't think of a good argument against federal control of the postal service. Imagine 50 different set of policies / rates / rules etc.

    Good wikipedia entry on Second Empire architectural style with specifics on US examples.

  2. #47
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonik View Post
    That photo is taken from a perspective showing a view of Penn that not many could see.

    For those walking the main flor and surrounded by those columns rising above I doubt that they appeared stubby (the bases alone seem to be 3X a min's height).

    But more height and verticality is almost always a good thing

  3. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Good wikipedia entry on Second Empire architectural style with specifics on US examples.
    Mullet has the EEOB (formerly OEOB) in the nation's capitol among others. He may have been competent, but he lacked aesthetic talent. (IMHO)



    The OEOB was referred to by Mark Twain "the ugliest building in America."[9] (Perhaps a dubious opinion.)

    Harry Truman called it "the greatest monstrosity in America."[10]

  4. #49

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    From a 1921 article by Henry Collins Brown:
    the Federal Government has inflicted upon our defenceless city one of the mightiest and ugliest buildings known to men—the Post Office.


    The battle over the building came down to money. By the original deed of 1866, the city sold the land to the federal government for $500,000, with the stipulation that if the post office ever vacated the building, the land could be recovered by the city for the same $500,000.

    By the early 20th century, the site was worth over $10 million. At one point, Treasury Secretary McAdoo wanted $1 million just to grant permission to run a subway tunnel under the building.

    I think part of the resolution was a land swap for the site of the Federal Office Building at 90 Church St.

  5. #50

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    It appears Henry Collins Brown was a chief instigator of the Post office's demise.

    In 1919 he writes to the Historical Society against it couched in patriotic intent:
    THE PROPOSED LIBERTY POLE OF TO-DAY

    In a communication addressed to the Executive Committee of the Society Mr. Henry Collins Brown suggested that a liberty pole be erected in City Hall Park, similar to the Historic emblems of the Colonial and Revolutionary days as a tribute to the Sons of Liberty and a lasting memorial to the patriotism of the New York troops who served in the World War. His suggestion was favorably acted upon at the October 21st meeting of the Executive Committee when the following preambles and resolutions were adopted:

    WHEREAS, "The Fields" or "The Commons," the present City Hall Park, a spot celebrated as the scene of many a public gathering during the colonial days and where was held the great popular meeting November ist, 1765, which protested against the Stamp Act;

    And Whereas, on the western border of "The Fields" was erected the famous Liberty Pole (about which many struggles took place between the British soldiery and the people) which was the rallying point of the Sons of Liberty, an organization originated in the Stamp Act period, and revived in November, 1773;

    And Whereas, when General Washington occupied the City, a part of the troops were quartered on "The Commons," and where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed and read to the army on July 9th, 1776;

    And Whereas, on the entry of the British in 1776 the Liberty Pole was cut down, and the Commons became a scene of imprisonment of American prisoners of war, confined in the jail, later known as The Hall of Records;

    And Whereas, since the completion of the present City Hall in 1812 the site has been hallowed by civil and military affairs of the City, and has been the reception centre for distinguished visitors to our shores on whom the Freedom of the City was bestowed, Therefore be it

    RESOLVED, That the Corporation of the City of New York be requested to acquire the site now occupied by the Post Office building in order to restore the present City Hall Park to its original dimensions and beauty; and

    Be It Further Resolved, That it is the sense of The New York Historical Society and the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, that a liberty pole be erected on the site of the first Liberty Pole, as a memorial of the staunch and unflinching patriotism of the New York troops, their valor and unparalleled success on the Battlefields of Europe.

    Resolved, That the following Committee of Five, Messrs. Reginald Pelham Bolton, Henry Collins Brown, Frederic Delano Weekes, Walter L. Suydam, and Robert H. Kelby, be appointed to consider and report upon the erection of a liberty pole on the site of the original Liberty Pole erected in City Hall Park. The Committee to have power to fill vacancies.

    Resolved, That the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York be requested to appoint a similar Committee to meet in conjunction with the Committee of The "New York Historical Society."

    The New-York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. III January, 1920 No. 4. Page 127

    Brown even foreshadows this in his 1917 guidebook New York of To-day:
    The post-office, which is directly opposite the Woolworth Building, was the second building owned by the Government for purely postal purposes. The present building was completed in 1876, but is already superseded by an up-to-the-minute structure opposite the Pennsylvania Station on Eighth Avenue, and the building you are now looking at may soon be a thing of the past.

    New York of To-day, By Henry Collins Brown. The Old Colony Press, 1917. Page 43
    Four books by Henry Collins Brown are in the public domain as GoogleBooks here.

  6. #51
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    In City Hall Park there is a block of granite commemorating the Liberty Poles mentioned above. The block lies to the west of City Hall and can be seen from the sidewalk looking through the fence.

    It reads:
    Here in the ancient commons of The City
    where before the time of our national independence
    five Liberty Poles were successively set up.
    This flag pole of 1921 is placed
    in grateful remembrance of all lovers of our country
    who have died that the Liberty won on these shores
    might be the heritage of the world.

    *

  7. #52
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    More correspondence in regard to the Old Post Office and the Liberty Poles formerly in that vicinity ...

    The New Liberty Pole

    October 9, 1919.

    Robert H. Kelby, Esq., Librarian,
    New York Historical Society,
    170 Central Park West, N. Y.

    Dear Sir :

    Referring to the conversation you had with Mr. Montgomery, relative to replacing the Liberty Pole in City Hall Park, we beg to say that the Sons of the Revolution heartily favor it and will be very glad to act in connection with the Historical Society in the matter.

    Yours very faithfully,
    Robert Olyphant,
    James Mortimer Montgomery, Henry Russell Drowne.

    "At a meeting of the `Board of Managers' of the Sons of the Revolution held on October 27th, 1919, the following committee was appointed to meet with the Committee of The New York Historical Society with regard to erecting a Liberty Pole in City Hall Park:

    J. M. Montgomery, Chairman,
    William W. Ladd,
    Philip Livingston,
    J. Wray Cleveland,
    George A. Zabriskie.

    "On November 5th, 1919, a meeting of both committees was held at Fraunces Tavern. Mr. Reginald Pelham Bolton was elected Chairman of the Joint Committees, Mr. Robert H. Kelby, Secretary and Col. J. Wray Cleveland, Treasurer.

    "It was moved that the committee seek an appointment with Mayor Hylan to lay the plan before him and to secure the consent of the Park Commissioner for the erection of the pole in City Hall Park. It was further moved that plans and estimates for a pole and base be secured.

    "On Saturday, November 21st, the Committee in a body waited upon the Mayor by appointment to ask his cooperation. The Mayor expressed himself as in favor of the proposed memorial and his services in its aid were assured. The proposed Liberty Pole is to be erected without cost to the City of New York. It was also urged upon the Mayor to effect the removal of the old Post Office building and restore the City Hall Park to its original dimensions, which included the land on which the post office building now stands. The land was conveyed to the Federal Government by the City of New York in December, 1866, and the deed recorded on April 16, 1867, for a consideration of $500,000. The Mayor, in reply, stated that he hoped the Federal Government would accept a site in the Civic Centre of the City in exchange for the present site of the old Post Office building.

    "Under date of December 5th, 1919, the West Coast Lumbermen's Association kindly offered the Society a Douglas Fir flag pole to range from 150 to 340 feet, delivered free to this city, with the compliments of that association.

  8. #53
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default A good reason to raise a toast next Monday ...

    This coming January 19th -- the day before Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States -- will be the 239th anniversary of the Battle of Golden Hill, which erupted in 1770 over the erection of Liberty Poles in City Hall Park. The fighting between Citizens of New York and British Soldiers quartered in the City preceded by some six weeks the Boston Massacre and has "sometimes been regarded as the first significant encounter between armed British soldiers and armed American colonists."

    Golden Hill was in the vicinity of modern day 2 Gold Street, near Platt Street and Maiden Lane and just a few blocks to the SE of The Commons. It was called Golden Hill due to a wheat field which grew there.

  9. #54
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    This intro to an 1898 article from the NY Times (with a pdf link to the full story); it contains info on a plaque affixed to a building at John & William Streets commemorating The Battle of Golden Hill and another plaque placed at the interior of the Old Post Office commemorating both the 1770 battle over the Liberty Poles in City Hall Park and the Repeal of the Stamp Act.

    The Times article is headlined:

    THE BATTLE OF GOLDEN HILL
    --------
    Fought in John Street in 1770 in Defense of New
    York's Liberty Poles--The First Blood
    Shed in the Revolution.

    *
    Not sure that either of those 19th Century plaques have survived.

  10. #55
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Excellent, thank you! We often walk cluelessly on ground upon which so much has happened.

  11. #56

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    The Sons of Liberty often met at the Burn's Coffee House on Broadway and Cedar St to plan civil disobedience. Coffee was fast becoming a symbol of resistance to British rule after the Boston Tea Party. It was also a tavern.

    The decade of unrest preceding the Revolution began with the Stamp Act of 1765. On Oct 31, city merchants met at Burn's Coffee House and signed the first agreement not to import goods from Britain. Earlier that month, delegates met at the site of Federal Hall for the Stamp Act Congress.

    The coffee house was located at 115 Broadway, the Realty Building. I think there's a plaque.

    And a Starbucks.

  12. #57
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    That Starbucks should be renamed...Java the Hutt.

  13. #58

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    Large: bennetthall

    A view from the post office. I wish they'd reopen the walkway in front of city hall again but I know that will never happen. The circulation through the park is now just odd.

  14. #59

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    NY once was equally as beautiful as London. Sadly, NY has always embraced the Talibanized approach to preservation.

    Khandahar-on-Hudson "developers" arriving for a conference.

    Last edited by londonlawyer; September 19th, 2010 at 11:30 AM.

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