New York 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 York’s parks, with more than a dozen pieces throughout the city, including Horse Tamers (1899) in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, the Army and Navy groups (1901 and 1902) and Quadriga (1901) on the Soldiers’
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.
Location. 40° 42.746′ N, 74° 0.395′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker can be reached from Broadway, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in City Hall Park, near the entrance to City Hall. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10279, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Almshouse ( within shouting distance of this marker); Liberty Poles Pace College ( within shouting distance of this marker); British Soldier’s Barracks ( about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Bridewell 1775-1838 ( about 300 feet away); Benjamin Franklin ( about 300 feet away); Woolworth Building ( about 400 feet away); The Federal Post Office ( about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . . Captain Nathan Hale (1755 - 1776). Biography of Nathan Hale from the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution website. (Submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Notable Events • Notable Persons • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,464 times since then and 62 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week September 18, 2011. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 5. submitted on October 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 6. submitted on September 11, 2011.