Partially obscured by low rise structures, the Seaman-Drake arch, a 35-foot tall marble archway, can be hard to spot from the street, but it’s one of the oldest structures in the area.
Built in the mid-19th century, the arch served as the entrance for the Seaman estate, once a sprawling 25-acre property in northern Manhattan. John Seaman, who was part of a wealthy American family, owned the property. The estate included a trout pond, greenhouses, a chapel, and stone stables. The estate’s mansion took six years to complete and was constructed out of the same marble as the arch. The marble was said to have been extracted from the same Manhattan quarry that supplied stone for St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The estate changed hands a few times as the decades wore on. Thomas Dwyer, a builder who constructed part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park’s Soldiers and Sailors monument, moved into the estate in 1906. Dwyer converted part of the arch into a home office. He eventually sold off much of the estate’s land, and in 1938 he sold the mansion to a developer who knocked it down and built an apartment building. The arch, however, remained intact as smaller buildings sprang up around it.
The arch remains today, serving a more humble purpose as the entrance to a body shop, refusing to disappear like the rest of the estate to which it was the gateway.
For more on the Seaman-Drake arch, see Scouting NY.
Know Before You Go
Easy to spot from 215 St Subway station