- READER REVIEWS
By appointment only
Nearby Subway Stops
R at City Hall; 4, 5, 6 at Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall; 2, 3 at Park Pl.
- Nearby Parking Lots
- Street Parking
It is one of the oldest buildings in the nation that is continuously used for a City Hall, and is divided into two sections by an understood "invisible line"—the mayor and his office conducts business in the West Wing, while City Council and its affairs are relegated to the East Wing. Built in a Federalist style with distinctive French influences, New York's City Hall was the architectural brainchild of French émigré Joseph François Mangin and New Yorker John McComb, Jr. This honor befell Mangin and McComb when they won the City Hall design competition in 1802, beating out proposals from 26 other architects. After almost 10 years of construction, the building was opened in 1812 and reflected New York's image as an emerging cosmopolitan city. The exterior has classic elements like Ionic-style columns and a cupola capped by a statue of Justice, while the interior has a floating staircase and a Pantheon-style rotunda (where Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant were laid in state).City Council Chamber
The meeting place for City Council and its committees, sub-committees and panels. In most cases, the Council and committee meetings are open to the public, affording civilians a glimpse into the world of City business. The regal red carpet covered in gold stars, the life-sized portraits of former presidents and statesmen, the jutting balcony, and the remarkable Taber Sears ceiling mural all make this the most interesting room on City Hall's East Wing.
Since 1816, when it was completed, this room has served many purposes. At times, it was a reception area for dignitaries like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, the Marquis de Lafayette and James Monroe; in the early 1800s, the comptroller stationed his headquarters in the room’s East Wing; and in the mid-1800s, the room’s West Wing served as a judges’ chambers. In addition to all of this history, the Governor’s Room, with its famous French Green walls (which resemble the color of oxidized copper), also features portraiture by Revolutionary War artist John Trumbull, furnishings by Charles Christian and Honoré Lannuier, and George Washington’s federalist mahogany writing table from 1789.
Free combined tours of City Hall and the Tweed Courthouse are available by reservation. Individuals, school groups, and other organizations can arrange for tours by calling 311, or 212-639-9675. There are also free City Hall tours on Wednesdays at noon which depart from the information kisok in City Hall Park near the intersection of Broadway and Barclay St. No reservations are required for the Wednesday tour.