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  City Hall Library Notes, January 2007


By Christine Bruzzese

Law courts have been part of the New York City government since the days of New Amsterdam. Many of the courthouses in the city are recognized as examples of outstanding architectural achievement and some have been landmarked. This article highlights publications on courthouses and city courts that can be found in the City Hall Library collection.

The Architecture of Public Justice: Historic Courthouses in the City of New York, written by Mary B. Dierickx and published in 1993 by the Department of General Services, describes forty-six buildings. Many of them have been designated as landmarks. Details include original use, history, location, architecture, significance to the local community and more.

The Surrogate's Court Building located at 31 Chambers Street is the home of the City Hall Library and its parent agency, the Department of Records and Information Services. Surrogate's Court/Hall of Records: a Public Treasure, written by Mary B. Dierickx and published by the Department of General Services in 1991, presents a history of this unique building. Included are drawings and photographs that enhance the text. Learn about the history and design of the building as well as the backgrounds of the architects and artists involved.

Courthouse is a chronicle by Paul Hoffman of ninety-nine days spent at the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building. Hoffman's book is written as a journal and describes each day's events. He witnessed various trials, got to know judges, attorneys, reporters and courthouse staff and immersed himself in the daily life of the Criminal Court.

Tribunes of the People: the Past and Future of the Magistrates' Courts by Raymond Moley, published in 1932, is a study of the Magistrates' Courts These courts, in existence from 1895 to 1962, handled criminal matters, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies like homicide. Moley studies the structure of the various courts, defending and prosecuting attorneys, the different magistrates, relations of the Magistrates' Courts to other courts and what was done to try to improve the system. In 1962, the Magistrates' Courts became part of the unified Criminal Court system.

Be sure to consult Annual Reports for courts such as the Magistrates' Courts, Children's Court, Court of Special Sessions and Criminal Court among others. These publications contain statistics on cases and their dispositions, listings of judges, summary of activities for courts and their bureaus. Dates range from the late nineteenth to late twentieth century, depending on how long the particular court existed.

Vertical files on courts and courthouses also offer newspaper clippings, photos and other material of interest.


The following publications were received by the City Hall Library in the month of December. Additional government publications can be found online in our Government Publications section.

AKRF, Inc.
West 61st Street rezoning and citywide general large-scale development text amendment: draft environmental impact statement. Prepared for N.Y.C. City Planning Commission, August 4, 2006. (CEQR no. 05DCP063Y)

Behind the scenes: the inside story of the Watershed agreement. Sets 1 and 2 (CD version with written text of interviews). Unadilla, New York: Nancy Burnett Productions, n.d.

Center for an Urban Future.
Lost in translation. ...State-run ESOL programs aren't keeping pace with growing demand. Nov. 2006.

Common Good.
All in a day's work: what's standing in the way of teacher effectiveness? A summary report. Oct. 2006.

Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century.
A plan to stabilize and strengthen New York's health care system: final report. December 2006

Community Service Society.
Making the rent, 2002-2005: changing rent burdens & housing hardships among low-income New Yorkers. December 2006.

Manhattan Borough President.
No way out: an analysis of the New York State Department of Health's role in preparing nursing homes for emergencies. December 2006.

N.Y. City. City Planning Commission.
Silvercup West: final environmental impact statement. June 2006. (CEQR no. 05DCP080Q)

N.Y. City. Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Status report. January - June, 2006.

N.Y. City. Comptroller.
Analysis of the financial and operating practices of union-administered benefit funds with fiscal years ending in calendar year 2004. December 18, 2006.

N.Y. City. Comptroller.
Annual report of the Comptroller on capital debt and obligations. December 2006.

N.Y. City. Comptroller.
Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation's leasing and rent collection practices: audit report. December 4, 2006 (Report no. 7748)

N.Y. City. Comptroller.
New York Yankees rental credits for the fourth quarter of 2005 (October 1-December 30, 2005): audit report. December 6, 2006 (Report no. 7749).

N.Y. City. Comptroller.
The state of the City's economy and finances, 2006. December 14, 2006.

New York City Criminal Justice Agency.
Annual report on the adult court case processing of juvenile offenders in New York City, January through December 2005. November 2006.

New York City Criminal Justice Agency, Inc.
CJA annual report 2005. [2006]

N.Y. City. Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of.
Bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries in New York City, 1996-2005. A joint report with Departments of Parks
and Recreation and Transportation, and the Police Department.

N.Y. City. Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of.
Cholesterol: control in patients with atherosclerotic disease or diabetes. Action kit. [2006]

N.Y. City. Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of.
Community health profiles. Second edition - 2006.

N.Y. City. Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of.
Flu shots save lives: why aren't more central Brooklyn residents getting vaccinated? October 2006.

N.Y. City. Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of.
Health teens initiative: seven steps to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care for adolescents in New York City. A toolkit and resource guide for health care providers. [2006]

N.Y. City. Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of.
A practical guide to increasing screening colonoscopy: proven methods for health care facilities.... November 2006

N.Y. City. Independent Budget Office.
Twenty-five years after S7000A: how property tax burdens have shifted in New York City. December 5, 2006.

N.Y. City. Landmarks Preservation Commission.
James W. and Lucy S. Elwell House: designation report. December 12, 2006 (Designation list 384)

N.Y. City. Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Landmark site of former New Brighton Village Hall: Rescission of a landmark site. December 12, 2006 (Designation list 384)

N.Y. City. Mayor.
Asset Information Management System (AIMS) report: executive summary. Fiscal year 2007.

N.Y. City. Mayor's Advisory Commission for the Review of Compensation Levels of Elected Officials.
Report and recommendations. October 23, 2006.

N.Y. City. Public Advocate.
Help wanted: Department of Education misses opportunities to connect students with health care careers. November 2006.

N.Y. City. Public Advocate.
Unhealthy exposure: mold in New York City homes. December 2006.

N.Y. State. Chief Administrator of the Courts.
28th annual report for the calendar year 2005. [2006]

N.Y. State. Commission of Investigation.
Preliminary report of an investigation into rate evasion through the use of out-of-state license plates. December 2006.

N.Y. State. Financial Control Board.
November modification report. December 12, 2006.

Partnership for New York City.
Growth or gridlock? The economic case for traffic relief and transit improvement for a greater New York. December 2006.

Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc.
Benchmark New York State. 2007 edition.

Transportation Alternatives.
Traffic's human toll: a study of the impacts of vehicular traffic on New York City residents. October 2006.

Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Congestion pricing: support among New York City residents. Key findings of telephone survey of 800 New York City residents May-June 2006. [2006]

Urban Justice Center New York. Street Vendor Project.
Street vending crackdown in New York City. [2006].

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