Manhattan Municipal Building at night

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Manhattan Municipal Building at night ( 480x640 )
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The Municipal Building in New York is located in downtown Manhattan at the intersection of Chambers and Centre Streets. It is one of the largest government buildings in the world. It houses offices of several organizations such as the Department of Finance, Civil Service Commission, Manhattan Borough President, field offices for the Department of Technology and Telecommunications, Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection or the Mayor’s Office. Over 3,000 employees work on over 92,900 square metres (1,000,000 square feet) of floor space in this 25-floor high building. There are another 12 floors in the tower.

By 1884 the New York City Hall was too crowded and many government offices were located in privately owned buildings. The architectural style of contemporary City Hall enabled to enlarge it so a new building had to be built. After selecting site, twelve architectural firms compete for the design of the building. The winner was the firm of McKim, Mead and White.

The foundation work started in 1909. The building was finished in 1915 but first offices had already been occupied since 1913. In 1966 the Municipal Building was designated a landmark by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. There have been two large renovations since it was completed, the last one in 1993.

The structure of the building is a mixture of three architectural styles – Roman and Italian Renaissance and Classical Style. The central tower is surmounted by the heroic figure of Adolf Weinman’s “Civil Fame” made of copper. It is 6 metres (20 feet) high and it is poised on a large copper ball. The portion of the municipal Building is covered by various types of sculpture and relief. The central arch is decorated with sculpture in the Roman style. Rectangular allegorical panels are placed over the side arches. At the left, there is a woman representing Civic Duty and a child holding the seal of the city. On the right side, Civic Pride shows the female personification of the city receiving tribute from her citizens. The shields in the elevators, on the molding above the colonnade and on the false colonnade above the 22nd floor were also created by Adolf Weinman and they represent New Amsterdam, the Province of New York (under English rule), the City of New York, the County of New York and the State of New York.
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