Apr. 29, 2016: Manhattan Municipal Building

 

When New York's five boroughs joined together as one city in 1898, it meant many things—including a lot more city officials in a lot more city offices, and some were built in each borough. In Manhattan, next to City Hall, rose the grandest of them all, this 40-story giant, still one of the largest public office buildings anywhere, designed by star architects McKim, Mead and White.

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It's topped by a 25-foot statue of Civic Virtue, by Adolph Weinman. She's covered in gold leaf, once had an arm fall off and crash into a cafeteria below, and is the largest statue in Manhattan.

















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Although it's hard to define its style (Italian Renaissance? Imperial Roman? Beaux-Arts?) it's been the inspiration for numbers of others, including Cleveland's Terminal Tower and the Wrigley Building in Chicago. Its original purpose was to bring all central city offices into one building; ironically, it's now surrounded by dozens of other buildings holding city offices.

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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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