Barry Faulkner used Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York as the starting point for his twelve murals in the foyer of Washington Irving High School, but they are not literal interpretations of the text. The panels progress from the southeast corner of the room to the north wall. The subjects are: “The Indian Hunters,” “Henry Hudson Landing on the Island of Manhattan,” “Trees and Animals of Manhattan Island with The Tiger, one of the first trading vessels to come to Manhattan,” “Trees and Animals of Manhattan Island with the Unrest, first ship to be built on Manhattan,” “Dutch Pioneer Women,” “The Peach War,” “Picture Map of Peter Stuyvesant's Bouwerie Farm,” “The Kissing Bridge,” “Map of Long Island,” “The Path of the Fur Trade,” “Governor Stuyvesant Leading his Army Against the Swedish Settlement,” and “Map of New Amsterdam with the British Fleet in the Harbor.” The last panels to be finished were “The Kissing Bridge” and “Governor Stuyvesant Leading his Army Against the Swedish Settlement,” which has noticeably looser brushwork. Faulkner completed both panels in 1921, when he returned from his service in the camouflage corps of the United States Army.
Characteristic of Faulkner's eclectic style, the murals reflect a variety of sources. They combine figures in classical poses based on Greek sculptures (See The Peach War) with the crisp outlines of Japanese woodcuts and are framed with a decorative border patterned on medieval manuscripts. Gilded faux-mosaic sections combining maps and figurative compositions help to unify the cycle. Referencing such icons as the east and west pediments of the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina, Faulkner substituted settlers and Native Americans for Greeks and Trojans. The arched panels themselves frame a composition similar to the triangular format of Greek pedimental sculpture. Faulkner further emulated the techniques of the old masters and painted the panels on plywood, using a complicated system of glazes.