New York City Hall - History and Facts | History Hit

New York City Hall

New York City, New York, United States

New York City Hall is the oldest city hall in the US still in continuous use.

Peta Stamper

31 Mar 2021
Image Credit: carlo deviti/

About New York City Hall

New York City Hall is the oldest city hall in the US still in continuous use, built between 1803 and 1812. Its architects, Joseph Francois Mangin and John McComb, were chosen as a result of a competition.

New York City Hall history

Against the backdrop of the American Revolution beginning in 1776, plans for a new City Hall were being discussed by the city council. However, the financial restraints of war paused the project. A site was chosen at the old Common in the north of New York, originally an area for the first almshouse in 1653. After American Independence, in 1802 a competition was held for the new hall; first prize was $350 and awarded to Joseph-Francois Mangin and John McComb Jr.

Mangin, had studied architecture in France before becoming city surveyor, while McComb had designed Castle Clinton and supervised the construction. The cornerstone was laid in May 1803, and brownstone was used to lower building costs. The building was adorned by Massachusetts marble facade, replaced later by Alabama limestone. Labour disputes and yellow fever slower construction, but it was dedicated in 1812 as the US once again went to war.

New York City Hall has been the site of various historic events of note since its completion, including: the New York Police Riot in 1857 as municipal police fought the Metropolitan police who were trying to arrest then mayor Fernando Wood; in 2003 the City Hall was the site of assassination as Othniel Askew shot City Councilman James E. Davis.

In 2008 the building saw restoration work both to the interior and exterior, costing $150 million and taking five years.

New York City Hall today

Today you can walk up the steps of New York City Hall where the policemen rioted, standing to look back at the beautiful City Hall Park and the impressive Brooklyn Bridge. The park is a great spot to admire the architecture and watch both pigeons and people pass. Visitors are able to take a free tour on a Wednesday at noon, and inside can view the day to day running of the city that never sleeps, along with an impressive collection of 19th century American paintings.

Getting to New York City Hall

When using the New York subway, go to stops City Hall on R line or Park Place on the shuttle service, both a 3 minute walk to City Hall. Otherwise head for the Brooklyn Bridge on foot and you will not miss City Hall.