Real EstateCity LivingManhattan Gramercy Park: Musts include Irving Plaza, Mario Batali's Casa Mono, Blind Pig and more By JORDAN G. TEICHER / Special to amNewYork Updated October 14, 2015 3:43 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email For a neighborhood just five avenues wide and nine blocks from top to bottom, Gramercy carries more than a regular share of history, art and culture. From Greek Revivals to Victorian Gothics, the neighborhood’s architecture is its most visible connection to the past. Gems from the 19th and early-20th centuries line 19th Street between Irving Place and Third Avenue, commonly known as “block beautiful.” Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote History abounds in the neighborhood's most exclusive spaces, like its 184-year-old namesake, Gramercy Park. The only place of its kind in Manhattan, the park's impeccably-maintained two acres are solely accessible to residents who pay $350 annually for a key. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote Gramercy is also home to two of the oldest social and cultural institutions in Manhattan: the Players Club and the National Arts Club, which occupy adjacent mansions on the south side of the park, and are only fully accessible to members. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote Gramercy has long-housed the borough's elite, but today it caters equally to New Yorkers and visitors of all stripes, locals said. Its diverse dining -- which is highlighted at an annual Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood event every September -- and entertainment venues are top-notch, and its ideal position between midtown and downtown give the area a mix of everything New York has to offer. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote "Iriving Place is like the downtown experience, but when you're thinking of Park Avenue South [in Gramercy], it's more like midtown," explained John Albino, managing director of development marketing at Douglas Elliman. "For people who appreciate those diverse ways of living in New York, you can experience it all in Gramercy." Of course, all of this comes with a price tag. Residents are deeply attached to their one-of-a-kind homes here, and as a result, housing is rarely available. The median sales price in the area in August was $685,000, and the median rental price was $3,650, according to StreetEasy. Apartments routinely selling for millions, so Gramercy is not for the shallow-pocketed. But according to residents who can foot the bill, there's no better place to live. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote Susan Keyloun, a Gramercy Neighborhood Associates board member, was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, and moved to the neighborhood 20 years ago. While its convenient location and cultural amenities were an obvious draw, the Gramercy community is what keeps her happy here. "The thing that's great about living here is that the residents really support the neighborhood. Our residents are what makes Gramercy thrive," she said. Finding Gramercy Park Photo Credit: Google Maps Gramercy runs from East 14th Street up to East 23rd Street, between First Avenue to the east and Park Avenue South to the west. The basics Photo Credit: Getty Images Transportation: Trains: 4, 5 and 6 to 14th Street 6 to 23rd Street L to Third Avenue and First Avenue Buses: M1, M2, M3, M9, M14A, M14D, M15, M23, M34A, M101, M102, M103 Library: NYPL, Epiphany branch, 228 E. 23rd St. Post office: USPS, 139 E. 23rd St. Crime: Gramercy is covered by the 13th Precinct at 230 E. 21st St. In the week of Sept. 21-27, one rape, eight robberies and two burglaries were reported in its CompStat report. There were two rapes and no murders reported so far in 2015 as of Sept. 27. Crime was down 2.2% so far this year as of June 27 from the year to date in 2014. Gramercy Park Real Estate Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote To rent 320 E. 23rd St. #11D Two beds, one bath; $4,395 per month 313 E. 14th St. #1B Two beds, one bath; $5,195 per month 207 E. 15th St. #1A Studio, one bath; $1,980 per month All according to StreetEasy. To buy 300 E. 23rd St. #5G Two beds, 1 1/2 baths; $1,695,000 19 Gramercy Park S. #3 Four beds, 5 1/2 baths; $15,000,000 305 Second Ave. #330 Studio, one bath; $899,000 2015 Gramercy Market data as of Oct. 14: Median sales price: $900,000 Number of units on market: 376 Median rental price: $3,450 Number of rentals on market: 1,715 Where to eat in Gramercy Park Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote -- Friend Of A Farmer, 77 Irving Place This rustic farm-to-table eatery with its fine-tuned country aesthetic is big among foodies keen on natural and seasonal ingredients. 212-477-2188 -- Casa Mono, 52 Irving Place Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali's upscale tapas bar-restaurant has been a hit since its 2003 opening. Its expertly-crafted Spanish dishes and extensive wine selection attract diners from well beyond the neighborhood. Casamononyc.com -- Pete's Tavern, 129 E. 18th St Established in 1864, Pete's proclaims the guide book-worthy distinction of being the oldest continuously operating restaurant and bar in the city, but you'll find more locals than tourists among its clientele. Petestavern.com To do Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote -- Vineyard Theatre, 108 E. 15th St. A staple in the New York theater diet, the Vineyard is one of the city's most popular Off-Broadway venues. Vineyardtheatre.org -- Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place This legendary three-floor music venue is known for big acts and its big ballroom-style space. Irvingplaza.com -- The Stand NYC, 239 Third Ave. Comedy lovers will feel right at home in this restaurant and comedy club, which hosts some of the city’s best comics downstairs and foodies upstairs. Thestandnyc.com Where to party Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote -- The Headless Horseman, 119 E. 15th St. With its flaming lanterns and woody, Colonial decor, this tavern is as popular for its unique vibe as its beer list. Headlesshorsemannyc.com -- Crocodile Lounge, 325 E. 14th St. Like free pizza? Arcade games? Skee-ball? It would be hard to not have a good time at this dancey, divey bar. Crocodileloungenyc.com -- Blind Pig, 233 E. 14th St. The college crowd comes out in force at this spacious sports bar popular for game nights and weekend brunch. Blindpignyc.com Where to shop in Gramercy Park Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote -- Housing Works Thrift Shop, 155 E. 23rd St. A destination for a wide selection of donated books, clothes and household goods, the proceeds here help fight AIDS and homelessness. Housingworks.org -- Bedford Cheese Shop, 67 Irving Place The Manhattan location of this charming Brooklyn-born enterprise features a 15-foot cheese case, three aging facilities, and an education and event space. Bedfordcheeseshop.com -- DaVinci Artist Supply, 137 E. 23rd St. Those with an artistic flair will find everything they need at this well-stocked store for professionals and hobbyists. Davinciartistsupply.com The buzz: Gramercy is getting ready to welcome some new neighbors Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote Construction is underway at Gramercy Square, a renovation of several former Cabrini Medical Center buildings into condos. Together, the buildings will occupy nearly 60,000 square feet and will be connected by a 25,000-square-foot private green space, according to John Albino, managing director of development marketing at Douglas Elliman, the real estate company representing the project. Three are conversions: 215 E. 19th St. is a 17-story building that will offer loft-style apartments; 220 E. 20th St. is a boutique building with eight full-floor residences planned; and 225 E. 19th St. is pre-war and smaller in scale, Albino said. The fourth, 230 E. 20th St., is a new construction. Residents don't mind new construction in the area, according to Arlene Harrison, president of Gramercy Park and the Gramercy Park Block Association. "They're putting gardens all around, they’re refacing old buildings," she said. "We're thrilled with what they’re doing." Pricing for the 223 residences, which include studios all the way up to four bedrooms, begins at $1.3 million, according to Albino. The first occupants are expected to move in late 2016 or early 2017. "We love having new energy coming to the community," Harrison said. "We love that people want to live here." Q&A with Chris Poe, President of the National Arts Club Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote The National Arts Club has been around since 1898. In 1906, it moved its headquarters to the Samuel Tilden Mansion on Gramercy Park South, where it has served as a cornerstone of the neighborhood's artistic and historic culture. Chris Poe, 51, the club's president, is also the senior vice president and head of brand marketing for the investment firm Hartford Funds. How integral is the neighborhood to the club's identity? We've been around for 117 years we spent the last 109 around Gramercy Park. The club has always been a place where there's been a real respect and fondness for the past while nodding to the future. That’s exactly what the area represents. Why is Gramercy great for architecture lovers? It's one of those special places where you look up and you see buildings, but you can also see their proportion in relation to the sky. Because of the brilliant zoning of the area, the sky provides this great canvas where you can actually see the details of some of our country's finest period architecture. What's the spirit that keeps Gramercy thriving? It's the people who live there; that’s the foundation. There are some neighborhoods where the community treats their space as a rarified jewel that must be protected. In Gramercy, it's actually about being a custodian of something special and sharing it with the rest of the city. By JORDAN G. TEICHER / Special to amNewYork Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic City Living: Hamilton Heights is the new home of millennialsHamilton Heights is the new home of millennials. City Living: East Harlem is the Latin gem of NYCEven as it diversifies, El Barrio remains a center of Latin culture. City Living: Jamaica is Queens' next 'it' neighborhoodQueen's new "it" neighborhood is more affordable than other NYC gems like Williamsburg and Astoria. 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