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Secret City

June 23, 2001

Lorraine P. Diehl, The Daily News

Next time you're shopping on 34th St., take a break in the beautifully restored Herald Square Park, on the north side of the street where Broadway and Sixth Ave. converge. There, amid pots of brightly colored petunias and newly installed chairs (the work of the 34th Street Partnership), you'll be in the company of the goddess Minerva and bell-ringers Stuff and Guff, whose attention is fixed on a huge bell they are poised to strike.

From 1895 to 1921, the trio adorned the top of a two-story Italianate building, located just north of the square on 35th St., that McKim, Mead & White built for publisher James Gordon Bennett's N.Y. Herald.

But Bennett's move from Printing House Square, near City Hall, to the midtown square that bears his newspaper's name, was short-lived. The building, which offered a street-level view of the paper's printing presses, was razed, but its bronze statues and clock survived.

On any given hour, the bells that once "tolled the active hours to the millions," can be heard again. Also, just south of Herald Square, visit Greeley Square's restored park where a statue of Horace Greeley, N.Y. Tribune founder, presides.