New York City has historically looked to Europe for architectural inspiration, particularly in the Beaux-Arts and City Beautiful eras. The penchant for monumental arches has its roots in the great works of France, Italy, Greece, England and other countries. The arches in New York City form the gateways to numerous well-known landmarks in the city, but first we thought we would begin with the arches that are now lost.
Image via Library of Congress
This mysterious Madison Square Park arch was the “Victory Arch”, a temporary monument of wood and plaster built at 24th Street and Fifth Avenue in 1918. The arch was conceived by mayor John F. Hylan to commemorate the New Yorkers who died in World War I.
The arch was designed by Thomas Hastings and was modeled after the Arch of Constantine in Rome using temporary materials. Relief panels commemorating such things as important battles and war service organizations covered the $80,000 triple arch before it was eventually razed. According to the article, there were plans to rebuild the Victory Arch in a form but arguments over the arch’s symbolism as well as who would get the commission for the arch halted any plans for completion Fiorello H. LaGuardia also publicly denounced the project as an “Altar of Extravagance.”