“The Gramercy Park Historic District provides an early example of creative town planning. The area was developed in 1831 by Samuel B Ruggles who laid out lots around New York City’s only surviving private park. Buyers of the lots became joint owners of the park and each received a key to the gate. Original townhouses in Greek Revival, Italianate, Gothic Revival and Victorian Gothic styles still line the south and west sides of the square. The Friends Meeting House of the 1850’s and one of the city’s earliest apartment houses, built in 1883 are at the southeast corner.” (Plaque provided by the Trustees of Gramercy Park 1981)
While the rest of the public parks of NYC are filled on this Sunday afternoon, Gramercy Park's most significant quality is its sparsity. As a private, residential park, access is limited to the selective wealthy residence of the neighbourhood. Exclusivity at its finest, to enter the gates requires a good-old fashioned lock and key. The landscaping and shrubbery are maintained to a T, giving structured beauty to the area. A list of rules is posted, marking no pets or recreational activity, adding to the constructed serenity. Although surrounded by residential buildings, the park, and neighbourhood itself, is oddly quiet compared to the rest of the city just a couple avenues over.