View Full Version : Washington Square Arch

TLOZ Link5
April 7th, 2003, 06:19 PM
I was just in Greenwich Village today with some friends, foul weather notwithstanding. *We were crossing Fifth Avenue north of the Washington Square Arch, and I noticed that there were several tiers of scaffolding on it. *That's certainly a far cry from when I was last there in the summer, when the arch was completely fenced off and looked like it hadn't been touched for years. *Does this mean that the city finally has enough money to restore it?

April 7th, 2003, 06:27 PM
I don't remember when exactly the scaffolding went up, but I think it was during NYU's spring break, the second to last week in March.

When I get out of my morning class tomorrow, I'll try finding an issue of the NYU news paper with the article about it.

April 8th, 2003, 09:22 AM
Yeah, that's exactly when the scaffolding went up, but the fence surrounding it (and a trailer) have been there for quite a while.

April 9th, 2003, 09:57 AM
The last time I was past it, it was fenced off and grass was growing through the sidewalks. *I hope they are restoring things!

May 13th, 2003, 07:58 AM
from The Villager

Finally, Arch Repair Work Gets Started

By Albert Amateau

The Parks Department, Village preservationists and elected officials celebrated the beginning of restoration of the Washington Sq. Arch on Wed. April 30, a day that also marked the anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration as first president of the United States.

The 108-year-old monument, an international icon of the Village and the city, has been deteriorating over the years as a result of air pollution, neglect and an ill-advised 1964 restoration attempt on the statues of George Washington on the front of the arch.

Martha Washington, impersonated by Corinne Heinz, a New York University theater department senior, was at the event, along with Department of Parks and Recreation staff members in 18th century garb.

“It’s like a small town here,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, introducing preservation advocates long associated with the movement to restore the arch designed by the architect Stanford White and decorated by the sculptors Alexander Sterling Calder, Herman Atkins McNeil and Frederick MacMonnies.

Sam White, an architect and Stanford White’s great grandson, attended the event as did Alexander Sterling Calder Rower, great grandson of Calder.

“This is a story of patience and partnership,” said Lynne Brown, N.Y.U. senior vice president, noting that the university last year joined neighborhood groups in establishing an endowment fund to maintain the arch.

The city capital budget plus allocations by the City Council and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, along with private funds from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation have provided the $3 million budget for the restoration.

A $600,000 maintenance fund, with $15,000 in annual contributions from N.Y.U., is being raised by public subscription. Benepe announced that Frank Netto, a Washington Sq. W. resident, has pledged a $50,000 contribution to the fund.

“It takes a Village to restore a monument,” said Anne-Marie Sumner, president of the Washington Sq. Association, paying tribute to fellow association members including Regina Kellerman, a parks historian. Sumner said she was confident the Parks Department would “restore the arch to its former glory.”

City Councilmember Alan J. Gerson, who was raised in the Village, recalled that he spent his childhood playing on the grass of Washington Sq. He paid tribute to Village groups with differing and sometimes conflicting agendas who are united in their dedication to restoring the arch.

Passionate concern about the arch has been a tradition in the Village. Adina Gordon, an art historian who lectures at the N.Y.U. Institute of Fine Arts, said later that William Rhinelander Stewart, a benefactor of the arch who lived on Washington Sq. N., kept a critical eye on the craftsmen who carved the figures designed by MacMonnies. “He wanted the angel of peace on one of the spandrels to look like his wife and kept pestering MacMonnies and White about it,” she said.
The current restoration phase follows an interim stabilization, with graffiti removal that the Parks Department did five years ago. Work done over the winter included rewiring and preparing the site for the work this spring.

Parks officials say the arch will be completed in 2004, possibly in time for the New York University commencement, which takes place in mid-May.

The new work will include repairing the statues of George Washington as Soldier, by MacNeil, on the east side of the arch, and as Statesman, by Calder, on the west side. The Washington statues were added to the arch in 1918.

The carved spandrel figures, designed by MacMonnies, will be restored and 45 of the 95 rosettes on the underside of the arch will be repaired or replaced.

The roof, which has leaked ever since the arch was completed, will also be replaced. “We have letters from White who was concerned about the roof even back then,” said John Krawchuck, a Parks expert on antiquities.

For the April 30 event, the department opened the spiral stairway within the west leg of the arch that leads to the roof, giving visitors a rare view of the interior brickwork, and a close-up of the worn marble surface as they descended on a scaffold on the outside of the arch.

Back around 1914, a group of artists including John Sloan and Marcel Duchamp climbed the spiral staircase to the roof where they lit a bonfire and read a resolution proclaiming the Republic of Greenwich Village, which they toasted with Champagne.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe looked at the badly deteriorated rosettes under the arch. He merely touched the edge of one and a bit of it crumbled into dust. Parviz Mohassel, Parks Department construction project manager, is at right.

May 1st, 2004, 10:20 AM
NY1 News
April 30, 2004

Washington Square Arch Rededicated After $2.7 Million Makeover

The scaffolding came down Friday on a city landmark that underwent a multi-million dollar makeover.

The Washington Square Arch was dedicated in 1895, but had deteriorated over time. A one-year, $2.7 million project was launched last year to bring it back to its original condition.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined city and New York University officials in Washington Square Park this morning for the rededication ceremony, where the mayor took the time to also celebrate "Poem in Your Pocket Day."

“Paris has won near the Champs Elysees, MacDonalds are golden like French fries they say. St. Louis has won next to the Mississippi, but for every New Yorker, especially ex-hippie, the arch you love most of all is right there, shining gloriously over Washington Square," said Bloomberg.

“It's the core of the neighborhood for us, this square, and most magnificently this arch, which is a part of our university symbol,” said NYU President John Sexton. “We were proud to participate in funding the restoration of the arch.”

City Hall donated $2.5 million toward rebuilding the arch.

The mayor and City Council have also announced an additional $3 million in funding for the reconstruction of Washington Square Park.

Copyright 2004 NY1 News

May 1st, 2004, 11:04 AM
April 30, 2004

Iconic arch gets facelift


Photos: The archway renovation (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-archgal0430,0,7828888.photogallery?coll=nyc-homepage-headlines)

A statue of George Washington got a much-needed face-lift, and a new right hand, thanks to a $2.7-million restoration of the Washington Square Park Arch.

After a 14-month restoration project, city officials rededicated the Greenwich Village landmark Friday under sunny skies and to the upbeat tunes of a military band.

"For more than 100 years, the arch has stood as a defining symbol of New York City, and has now been restored to its original grandeur," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said before joining first-graders from PS 41 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"Today's rededication affirms New York City's commitment to the renewal of Washington Square Park to a beautiful and safe public space for all New Yorkers to enjoy."

The arch, designed by architect Stanford White, was dedicated in 1895 and replaced a temporary wooden arch that was erected in 1889 to mark the centennial of George Washington's inauguration.

Made of Tuckahoe marble, the arch stands about 72½ feet high and features two statues of George Washington made of Dover marble. One depicts Washington as a general, the other as president. The right hand on the presidential statue had to be recarved; it also received extensive facial repairs.

The restoration included recarving or replacing loose or deteriorated pieces, micro-abrasive cleaning, roof replacement and installation of a bird-proofing system. The exterior lighting was also improved.

"We are very proud of what we have done with the arch," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "For many years it was an eyesore, falling to pieces. There was a chain-link fence around it to protect people from falling rosettes."

For about two weeks, first-graders at PS 41 in Greenwich Village, just blocks from the park, learned about the arch and its importance in history.

"It was a gift to remember George Washington," said Samir Belkas, 6, who often plays in the park with his family and helped plant flowers near the arch with his class. "And it was made of wood. It was fun to learn about the arch."

Although most in attendance were impressed by the improvements and the plans to spruce up the rest of the park, one regular visitor was not buying into the day's festivities.

"It's like parent visiting day at camp," said Alex King, of Greenwich Village, who was enjoying the weather with her daughter, Maya Wissak, 3.

"I'm happy that they have fixed the arch, but the rest of the park is not up to date, so they have a long way to go."

Indeed. Restoring the arch is just the first step in returning the park to its former splendor. More than $3 million in city and private money has been pledged for renovations.

Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

May 1st, 2004, 01:23 PM
I saw it the other day, it looks great - very clean. It also looks like they replaced Washington's "oversized" hand.

May 2nd, 2004, 11:22 PM
Cool photo of the underside/rosette detailing, I like those closeup and personal photos!

I sure don't remember the arch "falling apart" in the 70's/80's when I lived nearby, the only thing I remember was the grafitti and numerous attempts to clean it and then coating about 6' of the bottom with some kind of white paint that supposedly repelled grafitti or made it easier to clean off.

Hard to imagine the rosettes underside would ever deteriorate- the location underside like they were, they were never exposed to rain/snow, falling ice etc

Anyone ever take any photos inside the stairs or roof?
Back in the 70's I remember one day the iron door on the side was open wide but I thought some parks worker was inside and I didn't venture in but wish I had. I seem to remember the entablature section right over the curve of the arch is a hollow room like space.

TLOZ Link5
May 3rd, 2004, 01:54 AM
I couldn't help but notice that there was still a large crack on the inner side of the east pier, near the statue of Washington.

May 5th, 2004, 04:10 PM
Indeed. Restoring the arch is just the first step in returning the park to its former splendor. More than $3 million in city and private money has been pledged for renovations.

Good. The worst part are those paved hills that are now fenced off. What were they thinking?

But the arch looks great - fine job.

TLOZ Link5
May 5th, 2004, 05:37 PM
I think that the paved hills were supposed to be some sort of mini-skate park.

May 5th, 2004, 09:19 PM
I think that the paved hills were supposed to be some sort of mini-skate park.

If you mean the 3 concrete humps over near the S.W corner of the park, those were installed in the early 70's along with some jungle gyms and tires on chains swings. The humps had a thin coating of a green rubbery stuff- used to fly the bike around them things.

Any pictures toshare of that area?

May 6th, 2004, 12:33 AM
I took these last week.




TLOZ Link5
May 6th, 2004, 01:28 AM
The dog run is also kinda nasty.

June 13th, 2004, 10:45 AM



October 21st, 2007, 01:59 AM
...Soumitra on Flickr
September 29, 2005

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