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.
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.
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.)
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.
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 Cafe, Friend of Farmer, Casa Mono & Bar Jamon and Follia. Stop into Irving Farm for a cup of coffee or Pete’s Tavern for a pint.