Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Old Customs House

The second stop on my Open House New York weekend was the Alexander Hamilton US Customs House. Located at the Bowling Green subway stop, the building is one of the country’s best examples of the Beaux Arts style of architecture. From the turn of the century until the early 70’s the building was used as the customs house. It was vacated in 1973 when the customs service was moved to the World Trade Center. The building was saved from demolition in the late 70’s and is now home to the NY branch of the American Indian museum and federal court space.

We couldn’t walk around that much, but we were able to see the main room that used to be used as the customs office. The murals on the ceiling, a mix of steamship pictures and paintings of sculptures in the tromp l’eoile style, were stunning. Apparently they are in extremely fragile condition, but some restoration has been done to them.

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