The Arch Conspirators: A Centennial Celebration - Atlas Obscura
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New York, New York

The Arch Conspirators: A Centennial Celebration

Toast the Bohemian roots of Greenwich Village on the 100th anniversary of its self-declaration as a free and independent republic!

Late one winter night in January 1917, a small group of Greenwich Villagers plotted a bohemian revolution in Washington Square Park.

Alienated by the developments they saw taking place in the city, country, and world around them and worried that the neighborhood they knew and loved was changing,  the "Arch Conspirators" armed themselves with blankets, paper lanterns, balloons and champagne, climbed to the roof of the Washington Square Arch and proclaimed Greenwich Village a free and independent nation. This history-making event, precipitated by painters John Sloan and Marcel Duchamp, poet Gertrude Drick, and Provincetown Playhouse actors Alan Russell Mann, Betty Turner, and Charles Ellis was considered a dramatic turning point in the Village’s role as the center of American bohemia and avant-garde thought.

To celebrate the 100-year anniversary of this bold act, join us across from the park in Judson Memorial Church’s stunning sanctuary, designed by Stanford White, the same architect as the Washington Square Arch. Live music will transport you to our daring bohemian forebears as we offer a toast in their memories. At a time when the future of inclusive environments feels a bit jeopardized, gather with your fellow New Yorkers for a special night of community and ceremony. Local Village purveyors will fill the sanctuary with the sights, sounds, and tastes of what continues to make the Village one of the most unique and cherished neighborhoods. A concluding lantern ceremony at the Washington Square Arch will help us envision our own hopes and dreams for the next 100 years of life, art and community within the Village and greater New York City.


Presented in partnership with Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.