New York City's Points of Interest 1891 Part III


THE CITY'S POWERS, of self-government are derived from the Legislature, under a charter, which is amended as causes arise. The heads of the various departments and the various heads of departments are formed into Boards of Commissioners as governing bodies. These departments include the Board of Public Works, which embrace the water works ; Finance, Parks, Police, Docks, the Health Board, Charities and Corrections, Education, Taxes and Assessments and Buildings.

THE CITY HALL, is located in one of the oldest parks of the city and was finished at an outlay of $500,000, in 1812. It is built of marble, 216 feet long, by 105 feet deep, and affords accommodations for the Mayor, Common Council, Clerks of the Board of Aldermen, the City Library and other departments. On the second floor is the Governor's room, where stands George Washington's desk, on which he penned his first message to Congress; the chair in which he was inaugurated as the first President of the United
States; the chairs used by the first Congress, and a great number of paintings, which include the portraits of the State
Governors, the leading national Revolutionary heroes and officers and many of the Mayors of the city.

THE BOARD OF HEALTH, with its head office in Mulberry Street, in the same building as the Police Department, is composed . of
the President of the Police Board,- the Health officer of the port and Commissioners appointed by the Mayor. The sanitary
condition of the city is placed in the hand of this Board and a corps of physicians is employed to inspect the tenement
districts. The Bureau of Vital Statistics is also connected with this Department.

THE FIRE DEPARTMENT headquarters are at 155 Mercer Street and is governed by Commissioners.

THE MAYOR, appoints the Commissioners of the Board Of Education, who in turn appoint Local Boards of Trustees. The number of
children at present receiving free education in New York is considerably over 3oo,coo, while over 3,500 teachers are employed
at a cost of more than $4,000,000 per year.

One of the most important and necessary adjuncts in connection with the city government, is the DEPARTMENT OF DOCKS, which has charge of the entire river front of twenty-five miles and is controlled by Commissioners.

THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN, has the power to pass, enforce and repeal civic ordinances subject to the Mayor's approval, and to
pass resolutions over his veto by a two-thirds vote.

That which a city is, leads us to reflect upon what the city was, and as an effect is always the child of a cause, we are led
to look up the parentage of New York's present importance. This, without difficulty is found in THE NOTED MEN, past and
present, who have been and are the bulwarks of the Metropolis of the United States. Beginning, then, with those giants who
have passed away through the Great Gate, we will bring up the more prominent names for the purpose of a review, for although
hundreds deserve it, our space will permit the use of only a few names. One of the names that was a power in the old days,
was that of ALEXANDER HAMILTON, through whom so much was accomplished in the building up of several of the greatest financial
institutions. ' The history of this man's life and his duel with Aaron Burr is well known. General Hamilton lived at the time of the duel and his death, in Park Place near Broadway, while Burr resided at Richmond Hill—a rise near Prince Street which could be plainly seen from Broadway. The Burr house stood upon what is now Varick and Charlton Streets, the ground having been leveled. It is said that Burr had contemplated killing General Hamilton, and that he (Burr) was seen practicing with pistol in hand, many a time upon his own grounds, to become proficient as a marksman. The cleverness of Burr is also found in his success in carrying the Manhattan Bank charter through the Legislature. The Manhattan is to-day the great monument to his adroitness.


Website: The History
Article Name: New York City's Points of Interest 1891 Part III
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: History and Commerce of New York, 1891 Second Edition published by American Publishing and Engraving Co.
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