Learning About New York Part IV

 

The Tombs, or Hall of Justice.

The ward in which this is situated, in common parlance, has been long known as the "Bloody Sixth," a title acquired from its election riots. The House of Industry and New Mission House are two fine buildings, erected, of late years. Taylor's Saloon, an elegant restaurant, is on the corner of Franklin-street and Broadway, on the first floor; it contains an area of 7,500 feet. The view from the two grand entrances is gorgeous; the floor is laid with beautiful marble tiles, and fountains and statuary appear to the view.

Returning to Broadway, and continuing up the same, we pass in succession several magnificent hotels. Among these, the St. Nicholas and the Metropolitan are the most extensive. The St. Nicholas, at the corner of Spring street, covers one and three-fourths of an acre of ground, has six hundred rooms, and was erected and furnished at an expense of more than a million of dollars. It is a monument of architectural beauty, of the Corinthian order, and is of white marble. The original disbursements for mirrors amounted to $40,000, and the service of silverware and Sheffield plate cost $50,000. Whatever ornament wealth could purchase or skill produce has been lavished upon this palace-like structure, in which one thousand guests may enjoy all of the comforts and luxuries of life.

Continuing up Broadway a few blocks further, we come in view of Washington Square and Parade Ground. It is west of Broadway some three minutes walk. It contains twelve acres, has a handsome fountain, and is surrounded by elegant private houses.

Cooper Institute, New York.

The New York University fronts this square. It is a very handsome building, of marble; it was founded in 1831, and has, in all its departments, about seven hundred students. Running up northward from Washington Square is the famous Fifth Avenue, the most fashionable street in the city, and the most elegant street of private dwellings on the globe.

The several broad avenues and squares in the upper part of the city are studded with a succession of splendid mansions, in some instances costing from $50,000 to $200,000 each. The expenditures of families occupying them are apt to be in a corresponding scale, sometimes amounting to tens of thousands annually.

Returning to Broadway, and crossing over into Astor Place, we come to the Cooper Institute, erected by Mr. Peter Cooper, of New York, who gave $300,000 for the founding of this institution. Its object is the moral, mental and physical improvement of youth. It contains, among other provisions, a spacious lecture-room and an observatory. In connection with it are free courses of lectures, a free library, rooms for debating and other societies.

Opposite the institution is the New Bible House, one of the most extensive buildings in the city. It contains the printing-rooms and other offices of the American Bible Society, and also apartments for various benevolent and religious associations. Nearly six hundred persons are employed in the Bible House when in full operation. The Society was organized in 1816--17; its receipts since then amount to more than five millions of dollars, and it has distributed about nine millions of Bibles and Testaments, many of them in foreign languages.

The Bible House occupies three-fourths of an acre of ground, bounded by Third and Fourth Avenues, and Eighth and Ninth streets. The form of this gigantic edifice is nearly triangular, and it is substantially built of brick, with stone facings, costing nearly $300,000. The principal entrance, which is on the Fourth Avenue, has four columns, surmounted with cornice.

At the angle of Broadway corner of Tenth-street is the splendid edifice of The Bible House. Grace Church; it is of white marble, of Gothic architecture, and is considered one of the most elegant buildings in New York.

Four blocks beyond here is Union Square. This park is a beautiful oval enclosure, containing, perhaps, a; couple of acres, and ornamented by shrubbery and a pretty fountain. The famous equestrian statue of Washington stands at the south-east corner of the square. It is 14½ feet high, and, with its pedestal, reaches an elevation of 29 feet. It engaged the artist, Mr. Brown, four years, and cost $30,000, which was contributed by forty-six wealthy, public-spirited citizens. The Everett House, a magnificent hotel, shown in the engraving, stands on this square; it combines the luxuries of a first class hotel with the quiet and seclusion of a private house. Being in the most fashionable and airy quarter of the city, it is in all respects attractive as a place of residence to those who wish to combine elegance and seclusion with abundant means of transit by cars and stages to every part of the city. Dr. Cheever's Church of the Puritans and Rev. Mr. Abbott's Spingler Institution for Ladies face this square.

Statue of Washington and the Everett House, New York.

The New York Academy of Music, or Italian Opera-House, is a few steps eastward of Union Park, corner of Fourteenth-street and Irving Place. It is an immense structure, 204 by 120 feet, and is capable of accommodating 4,600 persons. The interior decorations are remarkably fine--sculpture, painting, and architecture all working together to produce the most pleasing effect. Its cost was about $350,000.

On the continuation of Broadway, about half a mile above Union Park, is the Fifth Avenue Hotel. It faces Madison Square, a beautiful park of one hundred acres, which has become widely known from a casual allusion in the opening of Pierce Butler's celebrated poem of "Nothing to Wear," as the residence of Miss Flora McFlimsay, who had made three separate journeys to Paris, where she and her friend Mrs. Harris.

"Spent six consecutive weeks without stopping,
In one continuous round of shopping;
Shopping alone and shopping together,
At all hours of the day, and in all sorts of weather,
For all manner of things that a woman can put
On the crown of her head or sole of her foot,
Or wrap round her shoulders, or fit round her waist,
Or that can be sewed on, or pinned on, or laced,
Or tied on with a string, or stitched on with a bow,
In front or behind, above or below."

The Fifth Avenue Hotel covers an acre of ground. It is faced with white marble, stretches 200 feet on Fifth Avenue and Broadway, 215 on Twenty-third street, and 198 on Twenty-fourth-street. Exclusive of basement, it is six stories high, and in height 110 feet. It cost, with furniture, about a million of dollars, contains 500 rooms for guests, and has 125 parlors, with suits of rooms, and each has a water-closet and bath attached. Its location is very near the depots of the Eastern and Northern railroads. One novel feature of this hotel is a vertical railway moved by steam power, which ascends from the lowest to the highest story, and by which persons can be carried from floor to floor. Near the hotel, in front of the square, is a stately monument to the memory of Gen. Worth, and adjoining the park are some of the most elegant houses in the city.

Fifth Avenue Hotel.

All the public grounds in the city sink into insignificance in point of extent when compared with Central Park. This occupies the center of the island, and is nearly five miles from the Battery. It commences at Fifty-ninth-street and extends to One Hundred and Eleventh-street, a distance of about two and a half miles; its breadth is half a mile, being bounded on the east by the Fifth Avenue and on the west by the Eighth Avenue, and contains 843 acres. It is one of the largest parks in the world, though the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, and the Phoenix Park in Dublin, are more than double its size, and the Pręter at Vienna is half as large again.

(Continue On Part V)

 

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Learning About New York State Part IV
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina

Source:

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Our whole country; or, The past and present of the United States, historical and descriptive. In two volumes By John Warner Barber ... and Henry Howe ...Cincinnati, H. Howe, 1861.
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