9. There Was A “Bohemian” Picnic At The Top In 1917

Top of the Washington Square Park arch

In 1917, a group of so-called “Bohemians” led by artists Marcel Duchamp, John Sloan and poet Gertrude Drick broke into the arch, climbed to the roof using the interior stairs and declared it the independent republic of New Bohemia. The all-night picnic involved Japanese lanterns, cooking, firing cap pistols and launching balloons. According to John Krawchuck, Director of Historic Preservation for the City of New York Parks &  Recreation Department, “they had a picnic and a party and drank tea late into the night.” Though there was probably something a little stronger than tea in their drinks.

Along with drinking “tea” and staying up all night, Gertrude Drick read a proclamation she wrote declaring Washington Square to be a free and independent state, while John Sloan did an etching of the group. The group became known as “The Arch Conspirators.”

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