With almost a million square feet of floor space, the Manhattan Municipal Building is considered as one of the biggest government structures globally and currently houses 13 public agencies in its 40 floors. Aside from being one of the seats of New York?s government operations, the Manhattan Municipal Building is also an unmistakable landmark of grand architecture.
At the turn of the 1880s, New York City grew exponentially and its population exploded to over one million. Consequently, the government also grew and insufficient office spaces became a problem. Seemingly, the most obvious solution to solve this is to expand the current City Hall, but then NYC mayor Franklin Edson opted not to go this route.
From 1888 to 1907, the city government held a string of design contests for architects to submit their design proposal for the new buildings to be built in the city which included the Manhattan Municipal Building. A genius from the highly acclaimed firm McKim, Mead and White won the competition for the design of the new government hub. The foundation of the building was placed in 1908. By this year, NYC population has ballooned to 4.5 million. The unceasing growth of New York City prompted the architectural firm to revisit the original blueprint and decided on a grander structure to fit the role it will play in the city?s local government functions. The Manhattan Municipal Building is in fact the first skyscraper built by McKim, Mead and White and was completed in 1915. it immediately rose to the ranks of being one of the most beautiful and elaborate structures in the metropolis.
Many types of architectural styles were used in constructing the Manhattan Municipal Building which includes Classical, Italian Renaissance and Roman, but many experts believe that the building mainly takes after classic Roman design principle. The imposing center tower rises 15 levels over the majority of the building which is composed of 25 floors. There is also a grand central arch modeled after the Arch of Constantine in Rome. The arch is expansive enough the vehicles passed through it before. Adding to the grandeur of the Municipal Building are the Corinthian columns which border the central arch.
The Municipal Building also boasts of a terra-cotta dome which takes inspiration from the Palazzo Farnese also found in Rome.
Another recognizable signature of the Manhattan Municipal Building is a pinnacle statue crowning it called the ?Civic Fame.? The statue measures 25 feet in height and is the second biggest statue in the entire Manhattan. Crafted by Adolph Weinman, the statue features a barefooted woman on a sphere garbed in a flowing garment and sporting a laurel crown to represent glory. The figure holds a mural crown with five segments denoting NYC?s five boroughs in her left hand and in her right hand is a laurel bough and shield symbolizing triumph and victory.
Taking a 360-turn from its grand structure, the Manhattan Municipal Building is also popular for another rather whimsical fact. Annually, an estimated 30,000 New York residents flock here to tie the knot. The civil ceremonies are said to last only four minutes.
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