INTERACTIVE PHOTO: SLIDE LEFT AND RIGHT TO SEE BEFORE AND AFTER IMAGES
Before: The arch in 1910. After: The arch today. (Photos: Collection of The New-York Historical Society, DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya)
INWOOD — One of the oldest structures in Inwood may be trading pistons for bowling pins.
The owner of the 19th century Seaman-Drake arch — which has been flanked by auto body shops for close to a century — is in discussions to rent the space to either a nightclub or a bowling alley, its real estate agent told DNAinfo New York.
The 35-foot-tall marble archway at 5065 Broadway near West 215th Street would be the standout feature of a new business and could even have rooftop seating on top of the arch, giving diners an unbeatable view of the neighborhood, AN Shell Realty president Andrew Shell said.
"People can see everything from the arch. It's perfect for customers," said Shell, who first talked with DNAinfo in October 2009 about the owner's hopes for a break from the archway's motor oil-soaked past.
The Seaman-Drake arch was built in 1855 by John and Valentine Seaman as a replica of the Arc de Triomphe and is the only piece of the Seamans' estate that remains. The rest was torn down in 1938 to build Park Terrace Gardens.
The arch site, whose owner declined comment, has been home to auto shops since the 1920s. Its most recent tenant, Brito Body Shop, was evicted last month, Shell said.
Interested renters can have the space for $17,500 per month. The graffiti-covered archway needs some repairs, but Shell insisted any maintenance would not be cost-prohibitive.
"The main part needs to be sandblasted and they'll have to paint over the graffiti," he said.
Despite the fact that the archway is not currently protected by landmark status, it's owner doesn't plan to let it go anywhere, the broker vowed.
"Nobody will take down the arch ever," he said.