Arches in New York

The largest concentration of permanent arches in the United States is in New York City. The mid-nineteenth-century Seaman-Drake Arch at Broadway and 215th Street served as the monumental entrance to a private estate. The austere arch was not adorned with sculpture or inscriptions. In contrast, the three permanent and five temporary arches erected between 1889 and 1930 in New York City are political, triumphal, and/or commemorative. Temporary arches (constructed in 1889) and a permanent arch, known as the Washington Square Arch (completed in 1891), were erected for the centennial celebrations of Washington’s inauguration as the United States’ first president. The next permanent arch to be erected was the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, which started in 1889 and was completed in 1892. A temporary arch to honor Columbus was erected at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue as a part of the 1892 celebrations. Temporary arches were erected to honor General Dewey’s victory in the Spanish-American War in 1899 and the veterans of World War I. Lastly, the New York State Memorial to Theodore Roosevelt (built from 1929 to 1935) was composed of a triumphal arch with sculpture and inscriptions. It was accompanied by an equestrian statue of Roosevelt and a plaza. This arch-focused complex serves as the main entrance to the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West. The interior behind this entrance is modeled on the public halls of Roman baths, decorated with long quotations by Roosevelt and large murals about his achievements.