More often than not the eyes of the world are on New York. Whether it be for business, finance, sports, arts or simply the millions of tourists visiting each year, New York is seldom granted any privacy, that is with one small exception. Manhattan has a park that only residents who directly surround it can access it via a special key.
Gramercy Park was formed in 1831 by Samuel B. Ruggles who deeded two acres of his personal property to be used as a park for the exclusive use of its surrounding residents which at the time consisted mainly of mansions. Mr Ruggles had hoped that by keeping the park use exclusive it would help protect it from deterioration over time and fall into disrepair.
Manhattan has a park that only residents who directly surround it can access it via a special key…Gramercy Park and access is strictly enforced.
Gramercy park is not exempt from rules governing its use, even though it is considered a private park. For example there are the pretty standard rules no smoking, no dogs, no feeding birds however to respect its exclusivity there is also a no photography rule. Whilst this is generally related to commercial photography it also generally frowned upon to take excessive photographs from visitors whilst in the park.
Whilst the park has been considered a private park since its inception in 1831 it wasn’t until 1844 that a fence was erected and the famous Gramercy Park Gold Keys were distributed to local applicable residents. Even today the new keys required to access the park form a critical amenity for any new developments that surround the park – with new owners willing to pay an additional $125 to for a special personalised keychain to adjoin the exclusive key.
What does this mean for Australians travelling to New York
If visiting and reflecting on life from inside Gramercy Park is on your bucket list there are a couple of options to get inside the park. The most obvious one is to be wealthy enough to purchase a property that entitles you year-round access to the park. If that is just not an option there are a couple of sneaky ways to get inside New York’s only private Park.
The easiest way is to stay at the famed Gramercy Park Hotel, which while expensive, does offer amazing rooms, décor and architecture plus guests have access to the private garden. A little more left field approach would involve renting an apartment on AirBnB which has access to the park. From time to time owners will list their Gramercy Park apartment for rent and may advise that a key is available for the park. One thing to be mindful of though is that according to the park by-laws any visitor, i.e. anyone other than the owner of the apartment, must be escorted with the owner. How strictly this is enforced is hard to tell.