Printing House Square



The Printing House Square of Manhattan (There was a Printing House Square in London) is a small triangular square located opposite City Hall Park, at the intersection of Park Row and the Brooklyn Bridge approach, junction of Spruce Street and Nassau Street, now called Pace Plaza, after Pace University.

The New-York Gazette, issued November 8, 1725 by William Bradford, was the first New York newspaper, with only two pages. The second was The New-York Weekly Journal, issued by John Peter Zenger, beginning November 5, 1733.

In the 18th century, some publishers moved to Hanover Square, in Lower Manhattan, including the New-York Gazette, The New York Mercury (1757) and Rivington’s Royal Gazette. Hanover Square was also known as "Printing House Square", but, in 1835, the Great Fire of New York destroyed much of Lower Manhattan.

In 1798, the Society of St. Tammany moved to a building at Nassau Street and Spruce Street (later, the site of Tribune). In 1812, they moved to the "Tammany Hall", a five-story building, at the corner of Nassau and Frankfort Streets. Tammany Hall became the Democratic Party's meeting place in New York City.

Still in 1812, the City Hall moved from the old Federal Hall, on Wall Street, to the new building in City Hall Park. Then, several publishers came to the area, specially to Nassau Street.

By 1830, the Press of New York City consisted of less than fifty journals, chief among them being the Commercial Advertiser, Evening Post, Morning Courier, New York Enquirer, Journal of Commerce, Standard, Porter's Spirit of the Times, Morris & Willis's Mirror, and the Knickerbocker Magazine.

The name Printing House Square only made sense after the construction of the New York Times Building, in 1858, on the site that was previously occupied by the Brick Church. Before that, the place was indicated as "City Hall Sq." in a map by William Perris, issued in 1852 (see fragment on the right).

Among the publishers in or around Printing House Square were The World (founded in 1860), Baker & Godwin, New York Times, Tribune, Sunday Times, American Tract Society, New York Herald (founded in 1835), O Novo Mundo (1870, in Portuguese), Daily Witness (1871-1879), The Day Book, Currier & Ives, The Sun (founded in 1833) and many others. By 1865, 54 newspapers were being published in the City of New York.

In the 1860s, printing and publishing was the third largest manufacturing industry in the City (garment manufacturing was the first and sugar was the second). Only in the 1970s, publishing passed garment manufacturing to become New York’s largest manufacturing industry.

In 1867, the Tammany Hall building, at Printing House Square, was sold to The Sun. In the same year, the name "Printing House Square" appeared in the Map of New York City by Matthew Drips.

The sculpture of Benjamin Franklin, by the German sculptor Ernst Plassman (1823–1877), was unveiled on January 17, 1872.

In 1875, the new Tribune Building was completed, starting a skyscraper competition in the area. In the late 19th century and early 20th century some publishers have moved from the area, including The Sun and New York Times.

By the early 20th century, the subway and the widespread use of the telegraph and telephone, changed the publishing industry's need to be closer to the post office and government institutions. In 1895, for example, the New York Herald moved to a new building at the junction of Broadway and 6th Avenue. In 1905, the New York Times moved to Times Square. In 1916, The Sun moved to Herald Square, merged with the Herald.

Later, in the 20th century, Pace College (now Pace University) took over the Tribune and NY Times buildings at the Printing House Square, which was renamed Pace Plaza.

More: Park Row in 19th Century


Printing House Square


Old City of New York





Times Square images


The bustling Printing House Square in illustration by Fay & Cox, published in 1868. The Tribune and Nassau Street are in the center. The Sun is on the left, on the site of the old Tammany Hall. The New York Times Building, erected between 1857 and 1858, is on the right.


Printing House Square


Tribune building


Above, Printing House Square seen from City Hall. Vintage postcard, postmark 1904, published by Illustrated Postcard Company. Original title: Junction Park Row, Nassau & Spruce, Sts. N.Y. From left to right: The Sun, Tribune, American Tract Society Building and 41 Park Row, former home of The New York Times.


City Hall Square


Benjamin Franklin


Novo Mundo


Printing House Square


NY Times Building


New York City 19th century


Fragment of a map by William Perris, 1852 (source NYPL). The place, that later became the Printing House Square, was indicated as "City Hall Sq."


American Tract building NYC


Tammany Hall NY


Early skyscrapers


Old World Building


City Hall Park


Tribune Building 19th century


19th century NY


Crowd baseball


Pace University


NY Times building


Navy Recruiting


Evening Mail Park Row


Times Building


Park Row images


Printing House Square NY


Nassau Street NY


Post Office


Antique photographs


NY Early Skyscrapers


Printing House Square


Copyright © Geographic Guide - Antique images of NYC.



The old Printing House Square, between 1872 (when the Franklin Monument was dedicated and the Tract House got a mansard roof) and 1873, when the old Tribune Building was demolished (source: New York Public Library).



Printing House Square old


World Building




Printing House Square


Old City New York