shenanigans in Washington Square
By Jenny Fan
posted: 03-19-11
Duchamp? walking away from the Washington Arch, NY (date unknown)
Image Source

This picture of Duchamp was caught on the linked webpage by kismet. It brought to mind the story Ralph Gardner of the Wall Street Journal had recently chronicled about his adventure inside the Washington Arch.  According to Parks department head preservationist John Krawchuck, Duchamp and his cohort of "Bohemian" artists, such as John Sloan and poet Gertrude Drick, had not only frequented and left their mark in the village, but had once broken into the arch and climbed to its roof: “they had a picnic and a party and drank tea late into the night.”  Gardner, today, entered the arch through its western leg with the guide of Krawchuck.  The arch sustains a 102-step spiral staircase that opens to a skylight door, the roof and vaulted attic.  Close to a hundred years prior, Duchamp had probably done the same thing while ascending the staircase with his jar of crackers and tea sets.  He may have seen cars wheezing under through the arch (which became forbidden only since 1971), the rows of Greek revival houses to the north that Gardner saw today, and a white marble fountain, that today has been relocated to the center of the square. 

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