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City Hall Park

City Hall Park (22)

This small park in Manhattan is well known, as it houses the New York City Hall.

Although at present it looks well-tended, with trees and a beautiful fountain, the current City Hall Park boasts a long history. Originally, this area was only a meadow that served as pasture for sheep and, over the years, it became the "common," the village green in the city. Time passed and the village green was used as a cemetery for the poor of the city and even got a hospice, which later turned into the famous Bridewell Prison, the prison for debtors, although it became better known because the British kept in it American prisoners of war. As a detail, you should know that the cells had no windows, only bars, and in the winter hundreds of patriot patients died within its walls owing to the bitter cold.

Eventually, the prison was demolished and the area became a park, while still hosting public events, such as demonstrations or executions. One of the persons who were publicly hanged here on the grounds of being a traitor was the famous Jacob Leisler, a Dutch merchant, chief of New York Libre. Anyway, the statue you can admire here is not his, but of a patriot named Nathan Hale, who was executed by the British near here, on the grounds of being a spy. His last words were: "I only regret not having more than one life to give to my country." It was also in this park where, in 1776, George Washington read the Declaration of Independence, which was shortly later approved by Congress on 4 July of that same year.

As you can see, this park has suffered, dreamed and lived significant passages of history. Therefore, the remodelling of City Hall Park as you can see it today was started relatively recently, in 1999. Stroll through the shade of the trees and recall everything that has happened here.

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