The church on Wall Street

I walked down Wall Street towards the Gothic Revival church I could see across Broadway. An ice cream truck blocked my way. I stopped, finished my ice cream, and walked on. I knew this was perhaps the oldest church in New York, having been first built in 1697. It burnt down twice, and the present grand structure was designed by Richard Upjohn and completed in 1846.

New York City: Trinity church, east door right

I walked in past an elaborate door. Later I would realize that this is the east door, and was designed by Karl Bitter. I stopped to admire it. Its not very often that I see a door donated by William Astor. Bitter completed the door in 1891, so it must have been one of his early commissions. I took a photo of the right hand door (above).

I’d arrived late. One of the things I wanted to do here was to walk through the cemetery and spot the graves of Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton. It was close to 6 in the evening, and the doors were being shut. I would have to come back another day to finish this. I walked around the main nave and apse and headed back out. On the way out I took a photo of the other door (below).

New York City: Trinity church, east door left

I was quite surprised to learn that this building was the tallest in New York until 1890. The era of skyscrapers began about then, and left this more traditional architecture far behind, in terms of height. I walked out and peered at the cemetery. In the middle of the bustle of the crowd at day’s end, it looked green and peaceful.

The Wall of Wall Street

The title of this post is the most deceptive google search ever. The only hits it gives are to Martin Scorcese’s movie with a similar name. But, as every New Yorker knows, the wall in Wall Street was a real physical thing. A plaque on the road (see the photo below) informs us that “Wall Street is named for a defensive wall of logs, known as a palisade, erected in 1653 along the northern border of New Amsterdam.”

New York City: Wall Street and Trinity Church

The bland plaque hides the early history of the era. The Dutch East Indies Company’s port town of New Amsterdam was the capital of New Netherlands. The wall was erected in the same year that the English crossed into former Dutch holdings in Connecticut. By 1664 the town fell to the English forces, and the wall was torn down in 1669. Now all that you can see are commemorative logs on the street (featured photo) and the plaque that you can see in the photo above.

Trinity Church, visible at the end of Wall Street, is an Anglican church which has stood in this spot since 1698. The current structure is much more recent. I was happy to find an ice cream truck parked at the end of Wall Street. Although it may not be there 300 years from now, I liked the fact that it chose to be there at the same time as me.