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India House on Hanover Square

New York City is composed of so many different worlds. Each neighborhood has its own characteristics, and so much of what brings people there is their wealth or lack of it. Here, when I painted, I met the same kindness as I did in other places, but when I began a canvas in a neighborhood where no one had seen me work before, the comments were difficult to hear. This was different.

The kindness began when the canvas was still looking chaotic, especially by the staff of India House itself. Ruben Solorzano, the manager, also took the time to tell me the history of this wonderful building.

Designed like a Florentine palazzo, India House was built for Hanover Bank in 1851-54.  While the financial district is now full of austere concrete and steel structures,  India House is actually typical of the area’s 19th century buildings, most of which have disappeared.

Hanover Square, at Pearl and Hanover Streets, about a block from Fraunces Tavern Museum, was the printing district of colonial New York. The first printing press in the colonies was established at 82 Pearl Street in 1693, the Great Fire of 1835 destroyed almost all of the early structures.

This painting includes employees of India House and of the restaurant called “Harry’s at Hanover Square,”as well as other neighborhood workers and residents and members of the owner’s family.

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