8. Seaman Drake Arch, Inwood

IMG_2231 seaman drake arch

Mostly forgotten and graffiti-riden, the 35-foot high marble Seward-Drake arch is now partially obscured behind buildings in Inwood. The arch is a remnant of a once wealthy family, whose marble estate was once entered via this monumental arch. According to The New York Times, the Drake family built their estate in 1855 on a hilltop north of the Dyckman family, using marble quarried from a location at the foot of the hill along Broadway. A low marble wall extended from the arch, which was said to be an exact replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The house was sold to Thomas Dwyer, a contractor who built the Solder and Sailor’s Monument and part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who used the arch as his workshop. As the IRT subway made its way, the land was subdivided and at some point, a car dealership used the arch as its entrance. This signaled the end of the once grand Drake mansion, which was demolished in 1938 for the Park Terrace Gardens. The arch caught fire in 1970, leaving the roof open.

Written collectively by The Downtown Doodler, Benjamin Waldman, Douglas Capraro and Michelle Young

Next, check out We Climbed to the Top of the Washington Square Park Arch! and Brooklyn Grand Army Plaza’s History as a Site of Protest and Honor