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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Places of Exchange

 
 
Places of Exchange Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, December 1, 2018
1. Places of Exchange Marker
Inscription.  
Completed in 1907, the US Customs House was built when the United States was becoming an economic world power – and the Port of New York one of the most prosperous trade centers. Duties extracted by the United States Customs Service yielded the greatest single source of revenue for the government before the imposition of the income tax in 1916. Speaking hundreds of languages, merchants came here daily, exchanging millions of dollars worth of currency. Just as Manhattan had once been a place of trade and cultural exchange for native Americans, it now became a rendezvous for people from all over the world.

The architecture of the US Customs House was planned to reflect the role of commerce in American life, an America in which Indians had little place. In 1899 the United States Department of the Treasury sponsored a design competition for the building. Cass Gilbert won for his Beaux-Arts design depicting a grand monument to trade. On top of each exterior column rests the head of Mercury, Roman god of commerce. Statues on the sixth-story cornice represent the world’s most successful commercial city-states in history. In Daniel
Places of Exchange marker site image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, December 1, 2018
2. Places of Exchange marker site
The bank of markers right of the main entrance.
Chester French’s sculpture of North American (on the left side of the staircase), the Native American is symbolically left behind, peering over the shoulder of “America,” who sits with ears of corn in her lap.
 
Location. 40° 42.266′ N, 74° 0.831′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on State Street near Bowling Green, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. The marker is one of several in a bank to the right of the main entrance to the National Museum of the American Indian. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “North America” sculpted by Daniel Chester French (here, next to this marker); The Marketplace (here, next to this marker); Sharing the Circle (here, next to this marker); George Gustav Heye (here, next to this marker); American Merchant Marine (here, next to this marker); Drawn To The City (a few steps from this marker); ...to Manhattan (a few steps from this marker); From Menatay... (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
Regarding Places of Exchange. The building is listed in the "AIA (American Institute of Architects) Guide to New York City, Fifth Edition".
 
Categories. ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceNative Americans
 
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, December 1, 2018
3. Inset
Sculpted by an unknown stoneworker, Native American portraits look out over the four side entrances of the US Customs House.
The National Museum of the American Indian (and Federal Bankruptcy Court) image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, October 10, 2015
4. The National Museum of the American Indian (and Federal Bankruptcy Court)
Formerly the Alexander Hamilton Custom House. The marker bank is to the right of the entrance.
 
More. Search the internet for Places of Exchange.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 18, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 18, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 86 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 18, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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