4. City Hall Was Generally Disliked, With Proposals to Demolish or Relocate It

To understand the context of the critique, you also need to think about the time. It was the era of Tammany Hall, with corruption rampant. Residents saw City Hall as a “bottomless pit” of taxpayer dollars (a reader letter published in the New York Gazette), the New York Evening Post felt that the construction project should be “suspended,” and in 1893 the New York Times supported a demolition of City Hall.

Meanwhile, the Tammany political ring wanted power and was plotting to be incorporated into the machinations of New York City government, partially through the architecture of City Hall. Tammany politicians began to support those that favored the demolition, relocation or expansion of City Hall.

In 1872, the Tweed Courthouse was built, mostly with graft, just behind City Hal and the political ring had a building of its own. Then in 1894, New York State passed a bill prohibiting the demolition of City Hall, ending the debate.