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New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House / National Museum of the American Indian

Exploring Downtown

 
 
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House / National Museum of the American Indian Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 26, 2009
1. Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House / National Museum of the American Indian Marker
Inscription.  Before the income tax was invented, the duty levied on imported goods financed almost the entire cost of America’s federal government – and as much as 80 per cent of that duty came through the Port of New York, making the New York Custom House a major national financial power. That’s why Customs could build the sumptuous, Beaux-Arts masterpiece that majestically anchors the vista at the foot of Broadway. Cass Gilbert’s extraordinary monument is laced with symbols of international trade from Mercury, god of commerce, to Daniel Chester French’s huge, allegorical statues of, from left to right, Asia, America, Europe and Africa.

The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House now houses the George Gustav Heye Center of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, bringing full circle the history of this remarkable site. The Museum sits on the original Algonquin trading ground at the foot of the Wiechquaekeck Trail, a centuries-old trade route whose original path has evolved into today’s Broadway. The Custom House adaptation for reuse as the Museum has returned a Native American presence to the site.
 
Erected by
Marker at Bowling Green image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 26, 2009
2. Marker at Bowling Green
Bowling Green can be seen in the photo behind the marker.
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The Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNative AmericansNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects series lists.
 
Location. 40° 42.279′ N, 74° 0.838′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Broadway and Bowling Green, on the left when traveling south on Broadway. Marker is at the south end of Bowling Green park. Touch for map. 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. Bowling Green Fence (a few steps from this marker); Fort Amsterdam (within shouting distance of this marker); George Gustav Heye (within shouting distance of this marker); Sharing the Circle (within shouting distance of this marker); Native People Of The Western Hemisphere (within shouting distance of this marker); Places of Exchange (within shouting distance of this marker); American Merchant Marine (within shouting distance of this marker); “North America” sculpted by Daniel Chester French (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. The top right of the marker features a picture of the interior of the Custom House. It has a caption of “The interior at the heart of the Custom House is the Rotunda, an enormous elliptical space of Classical grandeur. All 140 tons of its skylit dome are supported by the revolutionary Guastavino system of thin masonry vaulting – no steel, just tile and cement. The gorgeous cycle of murals adorning its walls – a Works Progress Administration project of 1937 by Reginald Marsh – pays homage to New York’s port, illustrating the progress of ocean liners into New York Harbor.” Below this is a photograph of two American Indian women, with the caption “A branch of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum presents Native American objects in the context of living cultures. Native Americans continue to thrive in the New York area, home to several Indian nations as well as two reservations on Long Island. The museum is an important center for today’s Native American life, and its exhibitions offer new perspectives on Native cultures past and present.” Also on the marker is a picture of “A deerskin bag made by a native Delaware artist, circa 1924. The George Gustav Heye Center is named for the New Yorker who assembled some one million native Indian objects from North, Central and South America in a collection that became the core of the National Museum of the American Indian.”
 
Regarding Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House / National Museum of the American Indian.
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 3, 2009
3. Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
The building is listed in the "AIA (American Institute of Architects) Guide to New York City, Fifth Edition".
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the markers in lower Manhattan erected by the Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.
 
Also see . . .
1. National Museum of the American Indian. (Submitted on June 26, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
2. National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center. Smithsonian Institution website. (Submitted on June 26, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.) 

3. The US Customs House -- 1 Bowling Green. "Daytonian in Manhattan" entry. (Submitted on March 19, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
Marker in Downtown Manhattan image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 26, 2009
4. Marker in Downtown Manhattan
The marker is located next to the Bowling Green subway station, seen here.
Museum Entrance image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 26, 2009
5. Museum Entrance
The entrance to the National Museum of the American Indian, located in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, can be seen in this photo.
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House National Historical Landmark image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, March 27, 2010
6. Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House National Historical Landmark
- seen from the Bowling Green
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House / National Museum of the American Indian Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, December 1, 2018
7. Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House / National Museum of the American Indian Marker
The latest iteration of the marker. Slightly rearranged but still at the same location.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 26, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,847 times since then and 10 times this year. Last updated on March 2, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 26, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   3. submitted on November 3, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   4, 5. submitted on June 26, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   6. submitted on March 31, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   7. submitted on December 2, 2018, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.

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May. 11, 2021