Friday, Feb 2, 2007
President Bush addressed the nation from Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street, directly across from the New York Stock Exchange, on Wednesday, January 31st. He delivered his Economic State of the Union to a crowd of dignitaries and members of the press assembled in the Greek Revival rotunda. Introduced by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Association for a Better New York (ABNY) Chairman Bill Rudin, President Bush provided an upbeat snapshot of the health of the U.S. economy and reinforced several of the initiatives he introduced during last weekâs State of the Union address.
The President also linked the completion of the recent $16 million stabilization of Federal Hall, which suffered damage during the events of 9/11, to the strong emotional and economic recovery of New York City and the nation as a whole. He further mentioned that âhe was glad to be back at Federal Hallâ, referring to the historic convening of a session of Congress in Federal Hall to commemorate the first anniversary of 9/11. During his speech, he drew upon the buildingâs historic ties to George Washington, who was inaugurated on the site and whom he likes to refer to as âGeorge W.,â as he joked during his speech. He also drew parallels to the life of Alexander Hamilton, the architect of the sub-treasury banking system that preceded the Federal Reserve System. Federal Hall was one of six branches of the sub-treasury from 1862 to 1920. Artifacts from Hamilton Grange are currently on display at Federal Hall.
The day was hosted by ABNY, which represents the interests of New York Cityâs civic and business leaders. Dignitaries in attendance included Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, former New York City Mayors David Dinkins and Ed Koch, and television commentator Lou Dobbs. President Bush greeted the mayor in Federal Hallâs new visitor center, operated in conjunction with NYC & Company, the Cityâs chamber of commerce. He also taped a Fox network interview in the second floor conference room and held an editorial board meeting with staff from the Wall Street Journal in the parkâs administrative offices on the third floor. This was followed by a private meeting with Cesar Borja, Jr., whose father succumbed to illnesses most likely stemming from his exposure to toxic dust after 9/11. Afterward, Borja met with members of the press in the rotunda, and President Bush continued his visit to New York City at the New York Stock Exchange.
The White House Office of Communications presented certificates to several National Park Service employees at Manhattan Sites, recognizing their outstanding work in readying Federal Hall and providing support for the event. Laborers Danny Merced and A.J. Johnson, security guard Steven Amato, facility manager Bill Rivera, acting site manager Michael Callahan and acting superintendent Sean McGuinness, whose last day on his current tour of duty was the day of the Presidentâs speech, were recognized.