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The Commons - The Heart of New York City

New York City, NY

Self Guided Tour
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The Commons has effectively been America’s town square since the Dutch landed. Virtually every major event of local, national and global significance has played out in some way on this stage. This tour captures the multiple and overlapping stories that are woven throughout our city’s life. It takes a look at the issues that New Yorkers were preoccupied with and how they solved them: their politics, religion, social protest, health and safety, commerce, disasters and defense, scandals and crime, education, publications, art and culture, parades and celebrations, architecture and engineering. The tour starts and ends at City Hall in front of the footprint of the notorious Brideswell Prison which had neither heat nor windows. The Lenape Wickquasgeck trail became Brede weg to the Dutch and was rechristened Broadway by the British. By 1870 the area was so congested that Alfred Beach was able to sell 500,000 10cent fares on his short-lived 312 foot long underground train. We’ll look at the Liberty Pole where George Washington had the Declaration of Independence read to the troops on July 9th 1976 before they marched down Broadway to Bowling Green to topple the statue of King George. Behind City Hall is Tweed Courthouse, costing twice as much as Alaska. We’ll meet Audrey Munson the first supermodel who posed for Civic Fame which sits atop the Municipal Building and journalist Nellie Bly who went round the world in less than 80 days and imagine what the former Post Office and Courthouse, the architectural eyesore known Mullets Monstrosity looked like before it was demolished in 1939.


3.01New York City Hall

5.01Brooklyn Bridge

8.01History of Foley Square

What happened here
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On November 23, 1878 former politician and convicted murderer William Sharkey escaped from the Tombs dressed as a woman probably hidden in a laundry basket never to be seen again, a case which achieved national notoriety.

To thank the Department of Sanitation workers for cleaning the city streets in 16 months, George Waring organized the 1896 Sanitation Worker Parade


Open House New York Weekend - October 17th-18th, 2020

Archtober - October, 2020

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