The two-story rotunda of City Hall, among the first interiors to be designated by the LPC, is a majestic introduction to the city’s center of government. City Hall has survived fires and several proposals for razing, relocation (suggested sites included Bryant Park or Central Park), and replacement with a grand municipal complex. In 1894, New York State finally passed a law prohibiting the building’s demolition.
In 1907, architect Grosvenor Atterbury carried out a restoration of the interior. But, despite various interventions over the years, the interior was never adequately maintained, even after its designation by the LPC in the nation’s Bicentennial year. Past renovations had done more harm than good. Decision makers took note when decorative plaster began falling from the ceiling and, in 2007, hired Beyer Blinder Belle to oversee a comprehensive rehabilitation and restoration project, including critical mechanical upgrades. Completed in 2013, the project transformed one of the city’s finest Classical interiors into one of its best preserved.
Photographs 1–3 by Larry Lederman © All rights reserved