This hidden arch was once the entrance way to the lavish 1855 Seaman-Drake “country” estate which sat on 25 acres near Broadway and 215th Street. It is a replica of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, and the only remaining piece of the estate- the arch alone cost $30,000 at the time. The marble mansion was surrounded by an elaborate Italian-style garden, complete with statues, scenic walks, ponds and sitting areas.
The wealthy Seaman-Drake family, who first settled in Long Island in 1647, were captains of industry, one (Dr. Valentine Seaman) was famous for introducing the smallpox vaccine that saved thousands. The estate was finished in the late 1850s (for $150,000), and occupied by various members of the family until the early 1900s, when it was then rented out, and slowly fell into more and more disrepair. It was leveled in 1938 to make room for the 400 unit apartment complex, Park Terrace Gardens. The arch was rented out for various offices, including an auto shop.
It is hard to believe this jam packed area was considered the “country just over a hundred years ago. But what is even harder for me to believe is that the arch is still standing! Behind an auto shop and a café, it was recently for rent, it totally blows my mind that a relic like this is just pushed aside and built around. Amazing.
What: The Seaman Drake Arch, remnant of the country estate
Where: Broadway and 215th street, west side
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