Gramercy Park itself is just one square block, its unique beauty and seclusion set the tone for the entire neighborhood (extending from 17th-22nd Street, and Park Avenue to the River). The brownstones and doorman buildings surrounding the park are hard to come by – the park is locked to all but the lucky few who inhabit them. The rest of us have to be content with standing outside its wrought iron gates, looking in. Still, the blocks nearby have much of the same quiet, suburban feel.
One of New York’s most historic and exclusive luxury neighborhoods, Gramercy Park offers its residents the convenience of living downtown amid the quiet, lush greenery of a refined suburb outside the city. Roughly located between Park and Third Avenues and East 20th to 14th Streets, Gramercy comprises a rich urban assortment of pre-war apartment buildings, 19th-century townhouses, Victorian brownstones and commercial clubs, including the National Arts Club, all surrounding a small, fenced-in private park – the sole remaining private park in the city. It is accessible solely to certain key-holding residents of the area.
Though once inhabited by the likes of Edith Wharton, Theodore Roosevelt and playwright Eugene O’Neill, in the last decade, urban professionals, emerging artists and tech-economy proprietors have taken up residency in Gramercy. To find amenities, such as grocery stories, cafes and specialized shops, however, residents of Gramercy must venture outside of the square to Park or Third Avenues, as Gramercy was grandfathered in under the condition that no commercial enterprise can interfere with its rusticity. Also because of this historic agreement, parents and children of the Gramercy area must look elsewhere for playgrounds and jungle-gyms, but highly regarded schools abound just outside, including single-sex private schools, charter schools and the Gramercy Arts High School, which has a focus on performing arts.
Gramercy still has a reputation as a no-man's-land of nightlife, but the fact is, things have changedconsiderably in the last 10 years. Along 3rd Avenue, a genuine scene of chic bars has emerged, andhipsters and regulars alike flock to the seedy, welcoming arms of The Bar on Gramercy Park. Pete'sTavern, a favorite of O. Henry's, is the oldest surviving bar in New York City, dating back to the Civil War!