The United States Barge Office, the Custom House, the Woolworth Building.
To the visitor in New York who begins his art pilgrimage at the Battery, architecture is that form of design which makes the most profound, the most stirring impression on him.
Although there are several interesting examples of plastic and pictorial art within the confines of this civic breathing place, it is the enormous bulk of towering buildings to the northward of Battery Park that dominates eye and spirit alike.
Most of them, it is true, have little architectural significance beyond size, but at the very margin of the Battery wall is a structure, the United States Barge Office, that does possess artistic significance in its elements of the Italian Renaissance style. Also, at the northerly end of the park is the classical Custom House designed by Cass Gilbert, the same man who created the beautiful tower of the Woolworth Building that crowns the vista of Broadway looking uptown from the Battery.
In Battery Park proper the sculptures and memorials include the small fountain erected to the memory of wireless operators lost at sea in performance of their duty, the statue of John Ericsson by J. Scott Hartley, and the heroic bust of Verazzano erected to commemorate the visit to this harbor in 1524 of the great Italian navigator. In the little circle called Bowling Green, in front of the Custom House, is the handsome bronze seated figure of Abraham de Peyster, by George E. Bissell.
The facade of the Custom House represents the growing fashion in America of adding "color" to public buildings through the use of sculpture. On four plinths that are part of the architectural scheme are colossal groups by Daniel Chester French typifying America, Europe, Asia and Africa; while on the attic across the facade are twelve heroic figures representing the great sea powers through their most famous navigators. Within the building, in the office of the Collector of the Port, is a series of ten mural paintings showing the Colonial ports of the seventeenth century, painted by Elmer E. Garnsey.
From the Custom House the visitor may best make his way afoot through the canyon of Broadway that Joseph Pennell has made known by his etchings, to Trinity Church, standing in its ancient green churchyard at the head of 'Wall Street.
This handsome example of Gothic architecture was designed by R. N. Upjohn and was begun in 184o. Its secondary artistic feature is the pair of bronze doors by Karl Bitter, erected as a memorial to John Jacob Astor, first of his name in this city. A few blocks to the north, at Fulton Street, is St. Paul's Chapel, one of the
Trinity parish churches and one of the three semi-public buildings now standing that were in existence in New York in Revolutionary days. It was built by McBean in 1764 and its design was strongly influenced by the manner of Sir Christopher Wren, the great English architect. Its interior is purely Georgian and on the Broadway facade of the building is an interesting example of mortuary art in the form of a relief tablet in honor of General Richard Montgomery.
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