Thursday, March 10, 2011

Inside The Washington Arc


Legends of the Hidden Temple: Washington Square Arch Opens Its Door...Briefly

One of our favorite secret spaces is the inside of the Washington
Square Arch, specifically the vaulted attic that most people don't
even know exists. That's because the innards of the arch—designed by
Stanford White and completed in 1895—are off-limits to the public
because of safety concerns. But people occasionally make it to the
top, and the latest person to climb the spiral staircase and take in
the unique view of Washington Square Park and beyond is the Wall
Street Journal's Ralph Gardner. He describes the experience:

Looking north, you get a clear shot all the way up Fifth Avenue. The
skyscrapers of Wall Street rise to the south, the construction of the
Freedom Tower proceeding apace and now clearly visible. Just below you
is the park itself, brittle and beautiful in the winter morning light,
and the genteel Greek Revival townhouses of Washington Square North.
The inside of the arch, which was once used as a Parks Department
office(!) and was occasionally broken into by beatniks, has been fixed
up during the various restorations. Too bad few get to see it. Open
House New York, you listening?

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