Andrew Haswell Green
Andrew Haswell Green (October 6, 1820 – November 13, 1903) was a lawyer, New York City planner, and civic leader. He participated in or led projects including Riverside Drive, Morningside Park, Fort Washington Park, and Central Park. His last project was the consolidation of the "Imperial City" or City of Greater New York; he chaired the 1897 committee that drew up the plan of amalgamation.
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From 1857 to 1870, Green was active in or led the Central Park Commission:
- 1857 The Republican-led New York State Legislature began to institute measures to control the municipal affairs of the largely Democratic metropolitan region. One act created the Central Park Commission (CPC). Green was appointed to the CPC, eventually becoming its head.
- 1858 Olmsted and Vaux’s Greensward Plan for Central Park was chosen by the CPC, thanks largely to Green’s influence. The CPC’s work would proceed under Green’s leadership, despite resistance from resentful local Tammany Hall politicians who have little control of the project.
- 1859 With Green’s coaxing, the legislature began to expand the CPC’s authority, transforming it into the city’s first comprehensive planning body. In the next decade the CPC planned and/or proposed improvements in northern Manhattan, the Harlem River and today’s Bronx. Projects included Riverside, Morningside and Ft. Washington Parks; the street plan above 155 Street; a widened and straightened Broadway; a Grand Circle at 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, and more.
- 1869 Green got approval for the CPC to create the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, two public-private institutions.
- 1870 A new home-rule (“Tweed”) charter ended the state-run CPC. However, the city’s Departments of Public Works and Public Parks would eventually execute most of the CPC’s unfinished plans.
- Subsequent career milestones
- 1871 The Tweed Ring was exposed. Green was made New York City Comptroller. to sort out the ring’s crippling theft and graft. He used his personal credit to obtain funds to cover the city payroll. He cut waste and halted most public works to spare the city from bankruptcy. Critics claimed his retrenchment policy was too arbitrary and severe. Green served until 1876.
- Niagara (Falls) Park Commission was created to establish New York’s first state park and defend the falls. Green soon became president of the commission and would serve until his death.
- 1886 Samuel J. Tilden died, leaving a fortune to create a public library for NYC but his will was contested by relatives. The executors – Green and two others – had to make do with fewer funds. Green would propose consolidating the Tilden Trust with the Astor and Lenox Libraries, leading eventually to the New York Public Library.
- 1889 The Washington Bridge, a span over the Harlem River that Green had long championed, was completed.
- Sentiment built in the business community for municipal consolidation of the metropolitan region to protect the mismanaged port. The NYS legislature created a commission to explore consolidation, with Green at its head. Green immediately proposed an ambitious consolidation plan that would be rebuffed a number of times, mostly by Brooklynites who call the movement “Green’s hobby.”
- 1894 Changing his approach, Green got a nonbinding consolidation referendum on the ballot. Most surrounding municipalities voted in favor of consolidation, but Brooklyn’s pro-consolidation majority was razor thin – only about 0.2%! Alarmed by the results, opponents would lobby to thwart subsequent bills by Green and others.
- Green rallied preservation-minded New Yorkers against the proposed destruction or removal of the New York City Hall building.
- 1895 Green formed the city’s first formal preservation and conservation group, called the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. The society created parks and rescue endangered sites throughout New York City and State; it folded in the 1970s.
- 1895 The eastern portion of the present-day Bronx was annexed by NYC.
- Republican Party boss Thomas C. Platt embraced Green’s consolidation plan. He pushed the measure through the legislature in 1896. A Greater New York charter was passed in 1897.
Death and memorials
On November 13, 1903, Green was murdered at his home at Park Avenue and 40th Street, in a case of mistaken identity;  He was buried in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1905 his family estate in that city was turned into a public park.
In 1929, a memorial bench was dedicated to him in Central Park; It was surrounded by five elms, representing the five boroughs. In the 1980s the bench was moved to another hill at Harlem Meer, and new maples were planted in 1998., overlooking
Bath Island in the Niagara River was renamed Green Island in his honor.
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
- Andrew Haswell Green at Find a Grave
- New York Preservation Archive Project Andrew Haswell Green
- "Died" (PDF). The New York Times. November 16, 1903. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- ANDREW H. GREEN'S MEMORY IS CLEARED; Flatt Sure Green Was Murdered in Mistake for Him. WOMAN'S LAWYER IS, TOO Civil Order for Hannah Elias's Arrest Issued but Not Served -- Conference in Jerome's Office New York Times, June 2, 1904
- Remembering Andrew H Green Memorial bench
- Andrew H. Green's Busy Life from The New York Times
- Biography from gothamgazette.com
- Andrew Haswell Green Collection,1843-1911, New-York Historical Society
- Guide to the A.H. Green papers, New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
- AH Green collection found, to be auctioned Boston Globe September 5, 2010
- John Plimpton Green Letters Jefferson Digital Commons, Thomas Jefferson University
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