2. City Hall Park (1736)

Created in 1736, City Hall Park is surrounded by lavish centuries-old government buildings including City Hall, the Tweed Courthouse, the Manhattan Municipal Building, and the Surrogates Courthouse. In the bustling downtown area, this park provides a much needed green spot, popular by those working in the area. The park also features a bike path which leads directly to the Brooklyn Bridge.

This historic park was the site of several Revolutionary War events. In 1765, New Yorkers protested the Stamp Act of 1765 at City Hall Park. In 1766, the Sons of Liberty erected the first “Liberty Pole” in City Hall Park, a commemorative mast later chopped down by the British. A 1921 replica now stands near the pole’s original location between City Hall and Broadway. On July 9, 1776, people gathered in the commons to hear George Washington read the Declaration of Independence.

The city’s first art museum, the Rotunda, was built in City Park in 1818, as New York City’s cultural scene was growing. Today, a bronze plaque in the park marks the site of the Rotunda. When slavery was abolished in 1827, a two-day long celebration and parade took place inside this park. City Hall Park often features public art installations, including several large scale works currently on display by Carmen Herrera, an initiative of the Public Art Fund.