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

Civic Center

Foley Square


—Exploring Downtown —

Civic Center/Foley Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 26, 2011
1. Civic Center/Foley Square Marker
Municipal government long ago spilled out of City Hall to create the surrounding Civic Center. Today, Chambers Street and Foley Square are lined with white granite and marble civic buildings. The sumptuous lobby of the Surrogate’s Court at 31 Chambers Street (1899-1907), with marble walls and vaulted mosaic-covered ceiling, is often used as a location for television and movie scenes. Down the street, the Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street (McKim, Mead & White, 1914) raises classic white granite to skyscraper heights, in a building that straddles what used to be a continuation of Chambers Street. To the north, Centre and Lafayette streets form the oddly shaped Foley Square, now synonymous with the courts. Side by side sit the United States Courthouse at 40 Centre Street (Cass Gilbert, 1936) and the New York State Supreme Court (originally the New York County Courthouse) at 60 Centre Street (Guy Lowell, 1912-1926). Foley Square replaced a large part of the once infamous Five Points district – a collection of squalid, rundown houses on streets known as “Murderers Alley” and “Den of Thieves.” Violent gangs like the Dead Rabbits and the Plug Uglies eventually grew into organized crime syndicates.
Erected by The Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.
Marker on Centre Street image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 26, 2011
2. Marker on Centre Street
40° 42.822′ N, 74° 0.197′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Centre Street and Reade Street, on the right when traveling north on Centre Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10007, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Municipal Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Surrogates Court (about 400 feet away); Foley Square c. 1800 (about 400 feet away); Thomas Paine Park (about 400 feet away); "Sankofa" (about 400 feet away); First National Sunday School Convention (about 400 feet away); New York County Court House (about 400 feet away); African Burial Ground National Monument (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
More about this marker. The top of the marker features a photo of the Manhattan Municipal Building after a 1992 restoration. Below this is a picture of “The 25-foot-tall gilded female figure in flowing robes balancing on a sphere 40 stories up in the air atop the Municipal Building in Civic Center (Adolph Merriman 1913-14; restored 1991). As the principal ornament of the Municipal Building, designed to hold the offices of the newly consolidated City of Greater New York, she holds a crown with turrets representing
US Court House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 26, 2011
3. US Court House
the city’s five counties, created in 1898.” An interior photo on the right of the marker has the caption “Inside the striking hexagonal Supreme Court, 60 Centre Street, the grand rotunda is lavishly adorned with a series of murals, ‘Law Through the Ages.’ By Attilio Pusteria (1936-38). Illustrating the history of law from ancient times to modern, they were brilliantly restored in 1992.”
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.
Categories. Notable Buildings
Supreme Court Building image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, March 26, 2011
4. Supreme Court Building
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 27, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 448 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 27, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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