A Greek Revival masterpiece, Federal Hall houses a museum dedicated to postcolonial New York. Themes include George Washington’s inauguration, Alexander Hamilton’s relationship with the city, and the struggles of John Peter Zenger – jailed, tried and acquitted of libel on this site for exposing government corruption in his newspaper. There's also a visitor information hall with city maps and brochures.
Distinguished by a huge statue of George Washington, the building itself stands on the site of New York’s original City Hall, completed in 1703. Remodeled by French engineer Pierre L'Enfant in 1788 and renamed Federal Hall, the building would see Washington taking the oath of office as the first US president on April 30, 1789. (The museum's artifacts include the very slab of stone on which Washington stood while taking that oath.) After that structure’s demolition in 1812, the current building rose in its place between 1834 and 1842, serving as the US Customs House until 1862.