The Wall Street Steps
Our iconic front steps have for decades been America’s soapbox, a democratic platform for the exercise of First Amendment rights. From the bond and political rallies of the 1940’s through 1960’s to the Occupy Movement of the new millennium, the steps of Federal Hall is where Americans come for debates, dissent and dialogue.
The years however, have taken their toll. In 2015, the Harbor Conservancy secured the support of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to restore the steps─ a project which when complete, will return George Washington’s perch over Wall Street, to glory.
Decades of use without restoration have left its mark on the historic interior. A survey of marble and glass elements and a pilot cleaning project is underway. Funded by The New York Community Trust, when finished, this initiative will determine the scale of Federal Hall’s restoration needs and the transformation possible with support.
A plan for the future programming of the site, with dynamic and inspirational experiences, is in-progress with the world-renowned museum design and media firm, Ralph Applebaum Associates. Its implementation is anticipated by 2020.
To date, we have completed the installation of a fire suppression system through a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. We have catalogued and digitized Federal Hall’s historic collections with generous support from the Leon Levy Foundation. We have restored the iconic John Quincy Adams Ward bronze statue of George Washington, through a grant from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Through support from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation and with matching Centennial Challenge funds, we have also produced a series of free interpretive audio tours on 400 years of New York City history.