From City Hall Park to Foley Square: Government Buildings Take a Step Uptown

Aerial Photo of Foley Square
Aerial Photo of Foley Square

On February 27, the Society held History of Foley Square: New York Legal Landmarks & Civic Reform at the New York City Bar Association. This public program described the migration of court buildings to Foley Square, architectural concerns surrounding the Square’s creation, and the role of city planner George McAneny in this development. Robert Pigott, Esq., Prof. Jon Ritter, and Prof. Charles Starks presented. Second Circuit Judge Hon. Dennis Jacobs joined the panel discussion after the presentations, which was moderated by our President Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt.

If you didn’t have a chance to come to the event, which drew a mix of lawyers, judges, historians, architects, and genealogists, you’re in luck! We filmed the entire program, and in a series of three blog posts, we will post the three presentations along with a little background information. This is the first of three.


Robert Pigott’s presentation From City Hall Park to Foley Square – Government Buildings Take a Step Uptown set the stage for the evening. Mr. Pigott described the movement of New York City’s civic center from City Hall Park to Foley Square. This change was due, in part, to the encroachment of several courthouses and other government buildings marring the original design of City Hall Park, as well as the fact that land became available when the City cleared rundown commercial buildings and tenements on the edge of the Five Points District.

Robert Pigott is Vice President and General Counsel of Phipps Houses, a not-for-profit, tax exempt organization founded in 1905 that develops, owns and manages low-income housing. He previously served as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Compliance Officer for Fidelis Care New York, a tax-exempt Medicaid managed care organization. Prior to this role, he spent nearly 11 years as a Section Chief and Bureau Chief in the New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau. He teaches Nonprofit Law at Fordham Law School as an adjunct professor and was Chair of the New York City Bar’s Committee on Nonprofit Organizations from 2013 to 2016. Bob is the author of New York’s Legal Landmarks, a historical guidebook to New York City for lawyers.

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