NYC: US Courthouse and Triumph of Human Spirit

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    The U.S. Courthouse was built as the Federal courthouse in New York City. Design work was started in 1933 and, after Cass Gilbert's (Woolworth Building) death the next year, supervised by his son until its completion in 1936. The six-storey base of the building is reminiscent of a Classical temple with its pilastered facades and colonnaded entrance, and rising from this is the sturdy 32-storey tower, topped by a pyramidal roof clad in gilded terra-cotta and a lantern.

    The monument Triumph of the Human Spirit by Lorenzo Pace is the world’s largest site-specific installation venerating the experience of African American enslavement. Towering over fifty feet and weighing more than 300 tons, the massive black granite sculpture was built near a rediscovered African burial ground. The sculpture depicts an abstract female antelope form, mounted on a boat shaped base. The piece is inspired by “Chi Wara,” an antelope effigy from West Africa that symbolizes a responsibility for continuing the next generation and for celebrating a successful harvest. Triumph of the Human Spirit serves as a monument to honor all Africans brought to America but is also dedicated to all ancestors, as well as the future generations to come.

    Foley Square is named for Thomas F. “Big Tom” Foley (1852-1925), a prominent Democratic Party leader from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Foley left school at the age of thirteen to support his widowed mother, working for a period as a blacksmith’s helper. In 1877 he began his active connection with politics as a Tammany election district captain and rose to be First Assembly District leader.

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