Gramercy Park, also known as Gramercy is a private park located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It is one of two private parks in New York City and one of three in the state. Residents of the park pay an annual fee to obtain a key, and the public is not normally permitted to come in. Gramercy Park lies between East 20th Street and East 21st Street and between Park Avenue South and Third Avenue.
Getting The Key To Gramercy Park
Gramercy Park is the vision of Samuel B. Ruggles who was a lawyer and politician. Ruggles advocated developing open spaces within the city and personally bequeathed the land, and financed the land drainage as well as the landscaping of the area, and put together the layout of the houses that now represent Gramercy Square.
Gramercy has been a fenced park since the mid-1830s and a locked park since 1844. In 1966 the neighborhood was recognized as a historic district. Being a private park, Gramercy is held in common by the owners of the 39 structures that surround the area. The original lots that surround the park are given two keys each, and the owners buy keys for a fee. The original key price was $10 per key, in 2008 the amount per key was $350 with $1,000 charge for lost keys. These keys are changed on a yearly basis, and any property that does not pay its annual assessment fee of $7,500 per lot, loses its key privileges. These keys are not easy to copy.
Evidently holding a key to this Park is something to brag about and holds some level of prestige. Of course with such prestige comes the rules. Here are the rules to abide by if you have access to the park:
- No dogs
- No alcohol
- No smoking
- No bicycling
- No hardball
- No lawn furniture
- No Frisbee playing
- No feeding birds and squirrels
Gramercy Real Estate
Gramercy real estate is considered to be fairly stable and there are some standout buildings and sections in this area.
Gramercy Park Hotel
One of New York’s historic hotels, Gramercy Park Hotel opened in 1925. From the hotel, you can get views of Gramercy Park, and during their stay, guests have access to 12 keys that are allocated to the hotel.
Famous names have passed through the hotel’s doors, including actor, Humphrey Bogart who married his first wife Helen Menken on the hotel’s rooftop terrace. John F. Kennedy in his younger days lived on the hotel’s second floor for a few months before the family moved to London. In the 1970s patrons included Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, later musicians Madonna, Debbie Harry and David Bowie.
Irving Place stretches five blocks from 14th to 20th Street at Gramercy Park. Irving Place’s location in Gramercy makes it a highly sought after residential neighborhood in New York.
Irving Place is lined with popular restaurants and bars such as New York’s oldest surviving saloon, Pete’s Tavern. Also, you catch concerts at Irving Plaza where rock bands like Green Day and The White Stripes have performed before.
One of the hot residential addresses to have in the neighborhood is 18 Gramercy Park.
Built in 1927, owners at number 18 hold the privilege of obtaining an annual key to Manhattan’s private park. Residents of 18 Gramercy can enjoy the park as their own front yard.
Big Bang Theory star, Jim Parsons, owns four Gramercy Park condos one of the places the star bought was
worth $2.8 million on 36 Gramercy Park East.
If you are curious to see this park, you only get one shot when Gramercy Park opens every year for Christmas caroling.
Ladies Mile District
Another historic feature of Gramercy is Manhattan’s prime shopping district, The Ladies Mile. The name Ladies Mile came about due to the fashionable department stores on Broadway where women frequently shopped.
The district has been home to famous department stores like Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, B. Altman and Seigel-Cooper & Company. In 1989 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the area a historic district. Now you can take a walking tour of the area and learn more about the history and architecture of this district.
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
President Roosevelt was born one block west of the park. The original house was demolished in 1916, but a replica can be viewed at 28 East 20th Street.
Please note: At the moment Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace is closed for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in 2016.
Getting To The Park
Access to the park is via the subway stop in Union Square using the N, R, 4, 5, 6 and L lines.
Hospitals & Police Services
One of the closest hospitals within the area is Beth Israel Medical Center between East 15th and 17th Streets. The address is:
First Avenue at 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
For Gramercy police service the 13th Precinct serves the area:
230 East 21st Street
New York, NY 10010-7460