Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
During the 1980s, the place where George Washington stood with his men as the Declaration of Independence was read out loud, had become a grimy hellhole full of junkies, crazies, and muggers.
City Hall Park, nestled between the Woolworth Building, once the tallest building in the world, and the modest capital building of what had been the greatest city in the world, had become the tragic symbol of its decline. Under Democrats, the park was dirty and unsafe during the day, and even worse at night. Tourists couldn’t believe that junkies and muggers prowled right outside the halls of city government.
“When I was United States Attorney from 1983 to 1989, almost every day I would look out my window and see City Hall Park. And I would see a park that looked terrible. And it seemed to me that people say something about themselves when they let the most important area of their city look bad and deteriorated,” Mayor Giuliani said at the park’s rededication.
The renovation put up a replica of the 1820s fence, brought in a Victorian fountain, and restored the statue of Nathan Hale, the patriot who was hung elsewhere in Manhattan, though many other patriots were executed by the British on a gallows a few hundred feet away. The renovation remade City Hall Park from a symbol of despair to hope and symbolized the rebirth of New York City.
Now, garbage and filth are spread out everywhere, along with posters of George Floyd and BLM graffiti.
“I promised then that we would restore City Hall Park to the beauty that it had in the 19th century, so that it could symbolize the regeneration, the rebirth, the reinvention of the city of New York,” Giuliani said in his speech, calling it a “a final gift from the 20th century to New Yorkers of the 21st.”
The gift has been rejected by the radicals and racists who have taken over New York and hate beauty.
The sidewalks have been defaced, everything is covered in graffiti, and the sacred ground over which the grass lies is littered with tents, sleeping bags, and soiled with worse things by Occupy City Hall.
The walls of the beautiful Surrogate’s Courthouse’s building, a Beaux Arts confection inspired by the Paris Opera, have been covered in hateful Black Lives Matter slogans, including “Kill Pigs”, and if you stop by at the right time, you can see a dummy in a police uniform and a pig mask being hung.
The occupiers renamed the historic park, Abolition Park, demanding the abolition of the NYPD, while behind them are the ghosts of two fallen towers where so many of New York’s Finest gave their lives.
Instead, great buildings are scrawled with the names of criminals who died in confrontations with police.
The resurrection of City Hall Park was a symbol of hope, its transformation into Abolition Park by its new occupiers is a symbol of darkness and despair. While the Democrats and their media allies cheered the defilement of the park, the consequences of turning back the clock on New York City quickly kicked in.
That was one of a number of violent encounters between the occupiers and the media. City Hall Park has become so dangerous that government employees and local residents who had paid top dollar to live in some of the area’s new luxury skyscrapers avoid it. And the occupiers, many of whom are vagrants and junkies, have taken to staging violent battles with each other in full view of the police.
The occupiers claim that the problems are the result of “unlearning and relearning” things like ownership and safety. What they’re actually relearning is the same thing that their nearby Occupy Wall Street predecessors had learned about what happens when you set up an illegal encampment.
Get rid of the police, and the junkies, the pushers, and the crazies come back.
In the City Hall Park area, the police have been defunded, and are referring all complaints to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office. Local residents claim that the NYPD has been told by De Blasio not to interfere.
City Hall Park has a long history of violent unrest by Democrat thugs.
During the Civil War, a mob of Democrats had descended on the New York Tribune building, currently the site of the Pace University tower on the other side of City Hall Park. Horace Greeley, whose statue is one of those still standing in the park, had run the preeminent Republican newspaper of the day.
Democrat thugs had attacked police precincts and were coming for the Republicans in the Tribune.
Henry Jarvis Raymond, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and co-founder of the New York Times, set up Gatling guns to take on the Democrat mob.
The rioting and looting tore apart the city because New York’s Democrat leaders, like their successors today, had made common cause with the mob and were hoping that the unrest would contribute to Lincoln’s defeat. While the Democrats were willing to let the city burn, President Lincoln acted.
The military set up artillery at City Hall Park, business owners armed their workers to protect their stores, and forty-pound bombshells from the Navy were even set up to be launched. Soldiers used bayonets and howitzers and broke the Democrat mob rioting and looting across New York City.
Governor Seymour, the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and the party’s future presidential candidate, who had called the rioters, “my friends”, went down to defeat next year.
That is how Republicans used to deal with Democrat riots.
“I stood on the steps of City Hall and I looked out at this park, as I had done many, many times, and what I saw was not the kind of park that New York City should have,” Giuliani said at the rededication. “That day I led everyone in reciting the Athenian Oath of Fealty, to the city of Athens,” And the final words of that oath are, ‘To pledge to transmit this city, not only not less, but far greater and more beautiful, than it was transmitted to us.’”
Bill de Blasio, a crony of Dinkins, whose support for rioters and criminals had brought the city to its knees, came to office with a very different message that declared that New York City was racist.
The era of New York City’s rebirth, of public safety, of clean streets and nice parks, was over.
Giuliani had left City Hall Park as a legacy of what he had stood for. De Blasio is leaving City Hall Park, with its needles and human waste, its hateful Black Lives Matter graffiti and violent fights, as his legacy.
But it’s not just Bill de Blasio’s legacy. It’s the legacy that the Democrats have always left. Whether it was in 1863 or 1963, the urban legacy of the Democrats is crime, riots, and blight. And if you doubt that New York City is a Democrat hellhole once more, look at a photo of City Hall Park now and then.
That’s not just what the Democrats have done to the place where George Washington once stood.
It’s what they’ve done to the great cities of this nation. And it’s what they intend to do to America.
Once again, just as in 1863, Republicans are the only thing standing between the Democrats and the utter ruin of a great city and a great nation at the hands of violent mobs and its Democrat leaders.