Long before Charging Bull landed controversially at the Northern tip, long before the destruction of Fort Amsterdam which lied on it’s Southern face, long before it housed public protests against the British during the Colonial era, the small patch of land we now know as of Bowling Green was set aside on this day in 1733 as the first public park in the City, then called New Amsterdam.
Bowling Green was first designated as a park in 1733, when it was offered for rent at the cost of one peppercorn per year. Lessees John Chambers, Peter Bayard, and Peter Jay were responsible for improving the site with grass, trees, and a wood fence “for the Beauty & Ornament of the Said Street as well as for the Recreation & delight of the Inhabitants of this City.” A gilded lead statue of King George III was erected here in 1770, and the iron fence (now a New York City landmark) was installed in 1771. On July 9, 1776, after the first public reading in New York State of the Declaration of Independence, this monument was toppled by angry citizens, dragged up Broadway, sent to Connecticut, melted down, and recast as ammunition. Portions of the statue are held by the Museum of the City of New York and the New-York Historical Society (which also possesses musket balls made from the statue’s lead).
Read more about the long history of Bowling Green at the NYC Parks Department.