5. There Is Roof Access to the Arch (Occasionally)

Washington Square Park arch interior staircase

Once used as an NYC Parks office, access inside the arch and its roof are restricted and closed to the public. A few have been lucky enough to enter using the small, dwarf-sized door on the arch’s western facade. The inside is fairly tight with a winding 102-step spiral staircase.

The staircase is made of Gustavino tile, the same tile that was used on the ceiling of the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal. The staircase and roof access were never meant to be open to the public, the staircase especially was put in place solely for maintenance purposes. The roof is very fragile so NYC Parks tries to limit movement up there to prevent water from leaking in the arch.

For now, NYC Parks brings people in more official settings for interviews, so they are the ones who take the pictures and bring the arch’s hidden interior out the the public. Last year, NYC Parks broadcasted a live Periscope video of an exploration inside and atop the arch.