BY MARTHA WILKIE| Those new to New York are often surprised by Gramercy Park — a beautifully landscaped gem, but one with a fence and a locked gate. So how does one get in?
The key to getting a key is owning a home on the park and paying an annual fee. Samuel B. Ruggles, a lawyer and politician, donated the land for the park in 1831 and set up the covenant that survives to this day.
“Come what will, our open squares will remain forever imperishable,” Ruggles declared. “Buildings, towers, palaces, may molder and crumble beneath the touch of time; but space — free, glorious, open space — will remain to bless the City forever.”
An 1851 tribute admired his modesty: “Disdaining, too, the personal vanity of entailing his own name upon this creation…he preserved the name by which the old estate was known, the Gramercy Seat.”
Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, is considered the Mayor of Gramercy Park.
“I love living here because of the unique gift Ruggles gave us, a ‘private ornamental park’ with its surrounding residential lots,” she said. “This has engendered a close-knit community, where we take care of each other, as well as neighbors in need through Neighbors Helping Neighbors. As the steward of Ruggles’s legacy, it is my mission to preserve the park and neighborhood for future generations.”
Lynne Lerner is a real estate agent with Compass and a longtime Gramercy Park resident.
“From limestone details, to neo-Gothic stonework, from Queen Anne to Georgian Revival, the architecture of Gramercy Park has distinct character and a sense of time and place. Buyers seek out Gramercy Park to find a home in a neighborhood steeped in history. Life here is a reprieve from the stresses of everyday life and a joy to experience.”
On Gramercy Park North, a two-bedroom, two-bath co-op in a 1930 building has a working fireplace, beamed ceilings and a view of the park. $2.5 million.
In the same building, a sweet one-bedroom, one-bath has a dramatic casement window. The doorman elevator building has a wonderful roof deck with Empire State Building views. $725,000.
On the market at 60 Gramercy Park North is a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath co-op in a 1928 building with a gracious lobby. $1.649 million.
A one-bedroom, one-bath Gramercy Park South co-op is newly renovated and sports a sleek kitchen. $799,000.