simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Municipal Building
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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Municipal Building

This almost looks a little like Italy bathed in this afternoon light, doesn't it? Not a total fantasy - architecturally, the Municipal Building's design uses Imperial Roman, Italian Renaissance and Classical styles. By 1884, New York City had surpassed the limited physical space in City Hall; many of its agencies were scattered throughout the city in various rented offices. Plans were made for a large civic building to accommodate the various city agencies with four design competitions between 1888 and 1907. Twelve architectural firms submitted plans for the new building in the final competition and the winning submission was from the firm of McKim, Mead and White, internationally renowned and the largest architectural firm in the world at the time. Building started in 1909 (when NYC already included five boroughs and a population of 4.5 million) and was finished in 1914-15. It stands at 40 stories, 580 feet (177m). This building is of major architectural significance in NYC and was highly influential - Moscow University's main building and other buildings in the Soviet Union were styled after it. The statue over the central tower is the heroic figure "Civic Fame" by Adolph Weinman in copper, 20 feet high, poised on a large copper ball (it's the second largest statue in the city after the Statue of Liberty). A crown with five crenellations represents the five boroughs of the City, as do the five cupolas of the building. Read more about the building here. The Manhattan Municipal Building houses thirteen agencies - more than 28,000 New Yorkers get married here each year. It's also where you can file for divorce - so convenient :)


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