In 2011, a Wall Street Journal reporter toured the interior, Gothamist got a chance in 2013, revealing it’s 102 steps to the top, but it happens quite infrequently: visitors accessing the inside and atop the Washington Square Arch.
And, of course, there is this famous history which led to the sealed door:
Poet Gertrude Drick, painters John Sloan and Marcel Duchamp, and Provincetown Playhouse actors Russell Mann, Betty Turner, and Charles Ellis got into the arch and up the spiral staircase through an unlocked door. They became known as the “Arch Conspirators” after that snowy winter’s day.
At this January 23, 1917 event, Drick read a declaration of independence for the “Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square” with the intent of having a neighborhood free from mainstream convention. The Daily Plant, the paper of the City’s Parks Department, writes: “These six so-called “Arch Conspirators” then spread out blankets, hung Chinese lanterns, tied red balloons to the arch’s parapet, sipped tea, shot off cap pistols, and conversed until dawn.”
Arch Conspirators … love that!
Apparently, the citizens were outraged and thus the interior door of the arch was sealed. Hmph!
It seems fitting that 2015 is time for a new caller.
(I wrote in 2013 that it appears every two years they let a media outlet in and that maybe in 2015, I would lobby them! But never did. … Sometimes I think the Art & Antiquities Department at the Parks Department wants to keep the Arch to themselves.)
Anyway, it seems appropriate that the ‘new’ Parks Commissioner should be next to venture inside in 2015 – and you can join him, virtually, that is.
View the interior of the Washington Square Arch via Periscope
when Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver ventures inside today, November 23rd, at 3 p.m.
Update: This is still happening but without the Parks Commissioner. No reason given as to why.
Meanwhile, there’s always 2017?
Top Photo: Evan Bindelglass, Gothamist
Other Photos: Cathryn