Neighborhood Spotlight: Gramercy

The Gramercy neighborhood is alive with history. Astors, Morgans, Rockefellers and Roosevelts have all lived there and their historic townhouses are still part of the neighborhood’s very unique charm.
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One of the country’s earliest examples of city planning, the neighborhood was first created in the 1830’s with a garden surrounded by elegant townhouses at the foot of Lexington Avenue and has since extended its borders. The charming area, steps away from Manhattan’s most popular shopping, highlights more than a century’s worth of gorgeous residential architecture, and the beauty of it has attracted a wide array of personalities over the years, including Oscar Wilde, James Cagney, John Steinback, Thomas Edison, Uma Thurman, Winona Ryder, Jimmy Fallon and Rufus Wainwright. I actually see Jimmy Fallon and his wife almost every morning on their way home from dropping off their daughter at pre school on my way in to the office.
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Gramercy Park itself is the centerpiece of the neighborhood and is a private enclave to the local residents who are the only ones with keys. (Fun fact: there are 383 keys, each one numbered and coded).  The park is the legacy of Samuel Ruggles, a developer who originally designed the plot after a London square. Today, it is surrounded by some of NYC’s most interesting architecture: The Player’s Club, the National Arts Club, the Stuyvesant Fish House, and 36 Gramercy Park east (the neo gothic building where knights in armour and gargoyles stand guard.) 
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Today, Gramercy Park is known for its low-key vibe—removed from the bustle of Union Square and the East Village—but it still gives residents a quick commute uptown to work and the city’s livelier entertainment hotspots.
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The Gramercy Park Hotel stands just northwest of the park and offers stylish accommodation, fine dining at Maialino and fun nightlife at the Rose Bar & Jade Bar. The aptly named Gramercy Tavern, with one-of-a-kind murals and extravagant floral arrangements, serves local farm-sourced seasonal menus in a laid-back setting.  Other fantastic restaurants nearby include ABC Kitchen, Craft, Union Square CafeFriend of Farmer, Casa Mono & Bar Jamon and Follia. Stop into Irving Farm for a cup of coffee or Pete’s Tavern for a pint. 

About the author: Alexis Godley

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