Corner (60 Centre):
This hexag- onal
build- ing with a Roman portico was originally
the New York County Courthouse, replacing the
Tweed Courthouse. Architect
Lowell won a 1912 design com- peti- tion, though
the building was not completed until 1927.
Above the columns is a
quote from George Washington:
"The true admin- istra- tion of justice is the firmest
pillar of good government." The sculptures above the
pediment represent Law, Truth and Equity.
This imposing building often appears in films;
Kris Kringle was tried here in Miracle on 34th Street,
as was Charlie Sheen in Wall Street. Here Keanu Reeves
acted as The Devil's Advocate,
Henry Ford was one of Twelve Angry Men
serving jury duty,
a rival to The Godfather was assassinated on the
steps and Ray Liotta testified against the Goodfellas--
to name just a few.
The courthouse is built in part on the site of the
Old Brewery, one of the filthiest and overcrowded
dwellings in the notorious Five Points slum.
In a plaza between Worth and Pearl streets
are two 1906 sculptures by Philip Martiny,
Justice and Authority. (Note the fasces,
later adopted as the symbol of fascism, in
They used to be in front of the Surrogate's
Centre and Chambers, but had to be relocated
when Centre was widened in 1961.
500 Pearl: The U.S. Courthouse Annex
was built in 1995 and designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox
with an interesting concave/convex shape.
The courthouse is built on the site of the
Grand Duke's Theater, then at the
corner of Worth and Baxter. From about
1872 until 1887 it was run by a gang of former
bootblacks and newsboys called the Baxter
Street Dudes, who would write and perform
their own plays, charging 5 cents admission.
It became a tourist attraction;
supposedly the Grand Duke of Moscovy attended a
performance and gave the place its name, though
I'm pretty sure this did not actually happen.
A 1964 co-op de- signed by
Kelly & Gruzen for the
Assoc- iation for Middle Income Housing, these
poured-concrete apartment buildings
with a striking serrated profile have been hailed (and condemned)
as striking examples of the Brutalist school of