City Hall Park is a triangle-shaped, eight-acre green oasis in the middle of downtown. The park was called the Commons back in the late 1600s and served as a pasture for livestock. Today, it’s surrounded by historic government buildings, such as New York City Hall and the Municipal Building. The park, with its fountain dating from 1871, serves as a prime location for people watching. You can view the serious demeanor of lawyers and jurors heading into the nearby courthouses or the joy and excitement of jubilant newlyweds leaving City Hall. The park’s bike path takes you to the Brooklyn Bridge on a ride past a portion of the city’s iconic public buildings. City Hall Park is home to numerous monuments including a statue of the patriot Nathan Hale.
The park takes its name from the adjacent New York City Hall that was constructed from 1810 to 1812. The original city hall on Wall Street became Federal Hall after the American Revolution when New York was the nation’s capital. A site near the Commons was selected for the new city hall. Joseph Francois Mangin and John McComb Jr. designed the building. The exterior of City Hall is a French Renaissance design and the interior is American-Georgian. This National Landmark still holds the offices of the mayor and the chamber where the city council convenes.