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Concert Venues :: City Hall Park


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Venue Address 260 Broadway
Manhattan, NY 10007

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City Hall Park, known as the Commons in the eighteenth century, is a triangular plateau of land with the modern borders of Broadway on the west, Park Row and Centre Street on the east, and Chambers Street on the north. Early colonial use of the Commons, rooted in Dutch tradition, was as communal pasture.

Because of its location at the towns outer limits, the eighteenth-century Commons was an appropriate location for those groups considered "undesirable" at the time. The first known governmental use of the Commons was an execution in 1691. Governmental usage increased steadily throughout the eighteenth century. The first Almshouse was built in 1735. During the 1730s and 1740s, the military began using the Commons as a parade ground and erected a palisade along its northern boundary in 1745. In 1757, the Upper Barracks and New Gaol were constructed on the Commons. As the city continued expanding northward, the Commons became less isolated. Despite its increased institutional use, the Commons continued to be used as a public gathering space, either for celebration or demonstration. Opponents of British policies rallied at the Commons, and from 1766 to 1770, British soldiers cut down four of the five Liberty Poles erected there by the "Sons of Liberty." During occupation, American prisoners-of-war were housed in the Gaol and Bridewell. After the war, the Barracks were removed and the primary function of the Commons was again civic. Construction began on City Hall in 1803 and the Tweed Courthouse in 1860. Both structures remain in City Hall Park today.

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