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The Parks Department’s Citywide Monuments Conservation team spent the month of July doing a preservation project at the Washington Square Arch.
The team conducted assessments of the 1895 Stanford White-designed monument’s preservation, and did some preventative care as part of the world-famous landmark’s stewardship.
Working on two 80-foot lifts, the conservators examined all masonry, decorative and sculptural stonework, and selectively tested the Tuckahoe marble.
The lower sculptures of Washington (as commander in chief and as statesman) have been gently cleaned of biological growth. The arch’s upper stories have been cleaned, and the parapet’s mortar joints repointed. Ambient nightlights attached to the moldings are being replaced, and new bird netting is being installed at the attic story.
The conservation team took inspiration from an inscription on the arch’s south parapet bearing Washington’s words at the Constitutional Convention: “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.”
A public-private partnership, Parks’ Citywide Monuments Conservation Program provides hands-on training to advanced conservation students.