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New York Daily Photo: Arch Rebels
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Friday, 6 July 2007

Arch Rebels

The Washington Square Arch is one of my favorite subjects and I have tried not to overuse it. However, I already have done at least 7 postings where all or part of the arch appears in the photo. Apart from the obvious - that it is one of just a handful of monuments in the city, it has gone through a recent restoration and it is beautifully illuminated at night - this is also the neighborhood where I live, so I see it numerous times daily. I have always been obsessed with monuments - as a child it was the Washington Monument. There is a small doorway in the west pier of the arch. Behind it is an interior stairwell there which ascends to the top where there is a vacant chamber and from there a trapdoor to the rooftop. One of the most often told stories is that of a snowy night in 1916 when artists Marcel Duchamp and John Sloan, along with 4 others (Gertrude Drick, Forrest Mann, Betty Turner, and Charles Ellis of the Provincetown Playhouse) snuck up to the top of the arch with Chinese lanterns, food, drink, balloons and cap pistols. There, in a night of revelry, they read a declaration proclaiming the "free and independent republic of Washington Square" - they fired the toy pistols, let the balloons loose, and spent the night eating and drinking while a crowd gathered below. I have not done a posting on the arch per se because someday, somehow, in honor of those rebels, I will get inside and to the top. And when I do, there will be a proper posting and history with plenty of photos - inside, outside, staircase, chambers, rooftop with views and you will see them here ...


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