New York County Courthouse

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Coordinates: 40°42′51.2″N 74°0′5.5″W / 40.714222°N 74.001528°W / 40.714222; -74.001528

New York State Supreme Court Building, formerly the New York County Courthouse, in 2013

The New York State Supreme Court Building, originally known as the New York County Courthouse, at 60 Centre Street on Foley Square in the Civic Center district of Manhattan, New York City houses the Civil and Appellate Terms of the New York State Supreme Court for the state's First Judicial District, which is coextensive with Manhattan, as well as the offices of the New York County Clerk.

The granite-faced hexagonal building was designed by Guy Lowell of Boston in classical Roman style and was built between 1913 and 1927, completion having been delayed by World War I. It replaced the former New York County Courthouse on Chambers Street, popularly known as the Tweed Courthouse. Both the interior and exterior are New York City Landmarks.


The building's mass and scale give it the appearance of a temple. A broad set of steps sweeps up from Foley Square to a massive Corinthian colonnade covering most of the front of the courthouse, topped by an elaborate 140-foot-long (43 m) triangular pediment of thirteen figures carved in bas relief from granite. The pediment and acroteria by Frederick Warren Allen include three statues: "Law", "Truth" and "Equity". A frieze bears the inscription "The True Administration of Justice is the Firmest Pillar of Good Government", a 1789 quotation attributed to George Washington.[1][2][3][4]

The rotunda contains the oft-reproduced and recently restored mural Law Through the Ages.[5] Attilio Pusterla painted a number of murals in the rotunda in the 1930s under sponsorship from the Federal Art Project of the Works Project Administration[4] The mural is divided into six sections, each depicting a pair of figures from historical cultures important to the history of law: Assyrian and Egyptian, Hebraic and Persian, Greek and Roman, Byzantine and Frankish, English and early colonial, with the final section portraying George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Above the seated figures are portraits of six lawgivers: Hammurabi, Moses, Solon, Justinian, Blackstone and John Marshall.[6]

Along Foley Square, the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse (right) sits next to the New York State Supreme Court Building (left). On the far right can be seen part of the Municipal Building on Park Row

The courthouse was designated a New York City Landmark on February 1, 1966[7] and the interior on March 24, 1981.[6]


The building is somewhat of an older sibling to Cass Gilbert's 1936 Corinthian-columned Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse just to its south, which also faces Foley Square from the east. Both buildings face Federal Plaza across the square, which includes the more modern courthouse for the U.S. Court of International Trade. Other court buildings are nearby, including those for New York City Criminal Court, New York City Civil Court, and the Surrogate's Courthouse.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "New York County Courthouse Pediment, New York Supreme Court, abt 1924" on the Frederick Warren Allen website
  2. ^ Paul Goldberger, The City Observed: New York: A Guide to the Architecture of Manhattan. New York: Vintage Books, 1979, p. 34. ISBN 0-394-72916-1
  3. ^ "New York State Supreme Court", New York County - Civil Branch , A Brief History of the Court. Accessed April 12, 2011
  4. ^ a b "New York State Supreme Court Building" on the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services website. Accessed April 12, 2011
  5. ^ "New York State Supreme Court", New York County - Civil Branch, Court Tours. Accessed April 12, 2011
  6. ^ a b "New York County Courthouse Interior Designation Report" New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (March 24, 1981). Accessed September 2, 2011.
  7. ^ "New York County Courthouse Designation Report" New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (February 1, 1966)

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