New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, July 24, 2009


There can be comfort in unrealized and unattainable dreams. A basket of these can provide a hidden agenda and false hopes of realization can give one's life purpose. These aspirations can be wielded in conversation - "One day I hope to .."  
And perhaps one is better without the realization, because not only is the dream lost, but with the accumulated expectations over time, the reality could be a disappointment. 
And so it has been for me with my love affair with Washington Square Arch, a monument I have looked at nearly every day of my adult life and dreamed to enter and ascend to the roof. As a boy, I had the same passion for reaching the summit of the Washington Monument - an easily attainable goal - pay the admission fee and take the elevator.  
The Washington Square Arch stairway is rarely open to the public. Until recently. Late one night I was informed by a park habitué that the small door at the foot of the west end of base of the arch was open - or in fairness I should say ajar. My first reaction was indignation - how dare I not be told about this opportunity. After waiting for decades wasn't I the most worthy? 
It soon occurred to me, however, that rather than spend time being self righteous, perhaps I should consider taking advantage of this rare opportunity and actually enter the Arch After all, goals are attained by those who act, not whiners. 
There was no sign of prohibition at the door. Many an opportunity is missed by over thinking, over planning and excessive worry, so with little fanfare or deliberation I entered. 
An extremely narrow spiral staircase winds its way to the top - fortunately it was left lit so my journey was easy enough. At the top there is large cavernous chamber. A staircase ascends further to a skylight trap door, leading to the roof of the arch (photo lower left). It appeared to be easily opened, but I decided to not press my luck. I took several photos throw the transparent domed roof hatch (photo lower right).
There is not a tremendous amount of information about this interior Guastavino terra cotta tile staircase and upper chamber. Typically, the story of Marcel Duchamp and his cronies is told - see my story here. I have done nearly ten stories involving the arch - see the list of links below.
What do you do when a small lifetime dream is realized? Just refine and redefine. After all, what I really wanted is to exit that domed hatch and go the roof. I am told such a thing can be arranged if one speaks to the right people. When I do that, you will be the first to know :)


Michelle Johnson said...

I love these photos. I'm glad a dream of yours was partly met. Maybe you'll speak with the right person soon. Have a great night.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this's Jerimee––talked with you a bit with some friends of mine that night. Good to see you put the pics up, no one I was with got any, I don't think, so I'm going to save these. Bragging rights forever

Jodi said...

great story and great pics. I'm loving your blog daily - weekdaily that is.. cheers!

dave said...

Nice photos and site too. I also like photos store at CouponPundits site for its mind blowing photos

Josef said...

Just wow! I saw a feature on the arch on NYCTV and they did make it seem possible to walk in the arch through a tour but those shows are always taped a few years back and no longer reliable . I'm not sure if the roof was part of that tour. This post is inspiring on many levels.