Civic Center in Manhattan in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
City Hall Park
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
This graceful, 13-foot standing bronze figure, sculpted by Frederick MacMonnies (1863-1937), directly faces City Hall and honors the last moments of the 21-year-old American Revolution era spy, Nathan Hale (1755-1776).
Disguised as a Dutch schoolteacher, Hale attempted to infiltrate New York’s British ranks to gather intelligence on the enemy’s Long Island military installations. The young man was captured, however, on the night of September 21, 1776 and hanged for treason the next morning on a gallows believed to have been erected near 63rd Street and First Avenue.
Since no life portraits of the patriot spy exist, Frederick Macmonnies’s work offers a romantic interpretation of Hale. The bronze statue of the shackled and bound Hale is set upon a granite base and illustrates the hero’s last predawn moments. Though only 26 when he won the Nathan Hale Memorial Competition, Macmonnies’s sculpture brought him great renown in New York City and also won him a medal from the prestigious Paris Salon.
MacMonnies is well represented in New
Nathan Hale was dedicated by the Sons of the Revolution of New York State on the anniversary of Evacuation Day (commemorating the departure of the last British soldier from the colonies in 1783), November 25, 1893. A gathering is held annually by the Sons of the Revolution on September 22nd at this site, commemorating the anniversary of Hale’s death. The sculpture has been moved several times. In 1999 the statue was moved from Broadway at Murray Street to its current location on the lawn facing City Hall’s entrance plaza and was conserved as part of the park’s general renovation.
Erected 2002 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Events • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Revolutionary. A significant historical date for this entry is September 21, 1847.
Location. 40° 42.747′ N, 74° 0.39′ W. Marker is in Manhattan, New York, in New York County. It is in Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10279, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mail Street 1875-1939 (within shouting distance of this marker); First Underground Railway Excavation (within shouting distance of this marker); City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); 200th Anniversary of the Construction of City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Jacob Wrey Mould Fountain 1871-1920 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Jacob Wrey Mould Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker); Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Barre (within shouting distance of this marker); The Federal Post Office 1870-1939 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manhattan.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The actual site of Nathan Hale's hanging is open to debate. There are at least two other locations given.
Also see . . . City Hall Park - Nathan Hale. The official NYC Parks description of the statue. (Submitted on February 19, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 31, 2023. It was originally submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,931 times since then and 99 times this year. Last updated on February 19, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 5. submitted on October 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 6. submitted on February 9, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 7. submitted on February 16, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 8. submitted on September 11, 2011. 9. submitted on October 27, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.