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

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



    The building in front of Woolworth which I believe is gone now, replaced by the park.

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    It was a post-office. I've always liked its ornate architecture, supposedly its architecture was hated so much at the time that it was demolished and replaced by an extension of City Hall Park. Atleast they replaced it with a park which is nice since lower Manhattan severely lacks open green space.

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    I think the building got off to a bad start even before it was built, when the federal government took over what had been open space since New Amsterdam.

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    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    That was the old Commons, wasn't it?

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    Would be nice if they didnt end up wasting most of the space with a traffic circle...

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    Not true.

    Most of the site was returned to the park. The present curve from Park Pl to Barclay and Broadway was part of the Post Office, but the rest south of it was always open space.

    The old Mail St on the north side of the building ran through the fountain plaza.

    1930 street map

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    Neat website, Zippy. I love old maps.

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    Too bad about the 40% zoom.

    One of my favorites is New York in 1776.

    The area of city hall park was at that time called The Commons, and within the city boundary, but not by much. It was outside the Dutch city limits, but always open land, bounded by what became Broadway, and the Boston Post Road (now Park Row).

    On the upper left is the 5 acre grounds of the original New York Hospital, a charter from King George III in 1771, but didn't open as a hospital until after the British left. The present Thomas St was the road within the grounds.

    To the south is King's College at Park Pl, royal charter from King George II in 1754. Closed during the Revolution, it was reopend in 1784 with a new, non-loyalist name - Columbia.

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    In the park, many of its one-time structures like the post office are marked in the pavement, not to mention the circular tablet at the southern end noting history of the site.

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    City Hall Park is administered by the Parks Department. From their website:
    Part of the southern tip of the park was sold to the Federal government in 1867 to build a post office. The Rotunda building was demolished in 1870 and in 1871 the Croton Fountain was replaced by a new fountain designed by Jacob Wrey Mould, co-designer of Central Parkís Bethesda Fountain, which became the centerpiece of the smaller park. Concerts were held at the park during the 1870s. In 1903 the parkís original gas streetlights were replaced by electric lamps. In 1939 the Post Office building was torn down, restoring the park to its original triangular shape, and reestablishing the open view of St. Paulís Chapel from City Hall. In 1966 the City Hall building was designated a city landmark as well as a national landmark.

    I found a pretty comprehensive history at nymapsociety.org of the park with this interesting tidbit:
    In 1939, the Post Office was demolished and the land returned to the city. Robert Moses started building in the park but was stopped by local protests.
    Anything on this? I found a footnote that states:
    The conception of the entire City Hall as a museum began to be formed in 1938, when removal of the old post office precipitated a redesign of City Hall Park and a debate about the historical significance of the park and its built environment. See H.I. Brock, "Our Political Power House Is an Art Museum," New York Times Magazine, 6 February 1938, 7, 23.
    What did the City Hall Park Association (founded 1937) have to do with the post office demolition?

    NYC press release associated with the 1999 reopening states:
    Outlines, or "Footprints," of past buildings-- marked in the paving by alternating the texture and color of the stones-- now trace the perimeter of now- gone buildings including the Windmill, the British Barracks, the Croton Fountain (the first fountain in New York) and the Post Office.


    City Hall Park, Manhattan, 1941
    Credit: New York City Parks Photo Archive

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    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I wonder what Moses started building?

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    He was parks commissioner, and he wanted to renovate it. But I've not been able to find out what he meant by renovate.

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    Some Damn Interesting info on the abandoned brick tube under City Hall Park for "the experimental and ill-fated Pneumatic Transit System."


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    Subterranean endeavors have always fascinated me. For those fellow adventure nerds reading this, there are is an abandoned mine tunnel just off rt. 15 near Wharton NJ. It is safe to explore. PM me for it's location if you are interested in checking it out.

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