With its charming brownstone homes and tree-lined streets, Gramercy is a perfect neighborhood for those looking for something a little quieter that’s right in the center of it all.
PC: The New York Times
It seems unbelievable but Gramercy Park was once located in the middle of a swamp. In 1831, Samuel B. Ruggles, a developer, explained his idea for the park due to the growth and expansion of Manhattan northward. He purchased the property and deeded the land to five trustees on December 17th, 1832, who pledged to hold 42 lots in trust that were to be used as parkland.
Ruggles then spent $180,000 to landscape the property and drain the swamp. After, he laid out his plans for “Gramercy Square,” deeding possession of the square to all the owners of the 66 pieces of land that he had plotted to surround it. Along with this, he sought tax-exempt status for the park, which the city’s Board of Aldermen granted to him in 1832.
In 1833, Gramercy Park was enclosed by a fence, but construction on the lots surrounding it did not begin until the 1840s. Landscaping then began with the hiring of James Virtue in 1838, and by 1839, pathways were laid out and trees were planted.
34 and 36 Gramercy Park (East) are two of the first apartments in New York City, designed in 1883 and 1905. Everywhere else in the neighborhood, you’ll find endless brownstones and carriage houses, although in the 1920s, tenant apartments and skyscrapers started popping up in the neighborhood.
Gramercy is well connected to the rest of Manhattan and easy to get around and through. The 23rd Street subway station on Broadway and Fifth Avenue serves the R and W, the N on weekends and late nights, and the Q on late nights. The other part of the 23rd Street station is on Park Avenue South, and offers the 6 train and the 4 late at night.
There are also plenty of bus offerings in Gramercy, with the M23, X14, X37, X38, and X42 running through the East 23rd Street and Park Avenue South stop, and the M101, M102, and M103 buses being offered at the 23rd Street and 3rd Avenue stop.
Residents of Gramercy can be found taking peaceful walks alongside the numerous brownstones lining the quiet streets, or enjoying a relaxed night out with friends at one of the cozy bars. This is not the place for those looking to be in the middle of a neighborhood that is buzzing with nightlife, but rather have a quiet place to return home to, while only being a ten-minute walk from busier streets.
Gramercy is filled with some of the finest restaurants in the downtown area of Manhattan. One favorite is Sal Anthony’s on Third Avenue and the corner of 19th Street. This Italian restaurant offers many classic dishes, including favorites such as Penne Vodka and Penne Bolognese, along with other options such as Trout Al Rosemarino and Veal Scaloppine Marsala.
Aside from food, Gramercy is one of the best areas for those looking for bars that are more on the quiet side. Dear Irving is a fan favorite, as this private speakeasy offers an intimate setting (they will only take parties of six people or less) and exceptional drinks. We recommend the Pearl Collins or the Whiskey Business.
There’s also Ampersand, another cozy cocktail bar. Ampersand offers both delicious drink and food choices, with favorites being the fish tacos and the Bees Knees, a cocktail mixed with gin, honey, and lemon.
Gramercy is one of the more expensive areas in Manhattan, with rental studios starting at about $2,800, 1 bedroom apartments beginning around $3,000, and 2 bedrooms beginning around $4,200. Studio apartments to purchase begin at around $1,000,000.
Gramercy is perfect for those who want a quiet, quaint brownstone neighborhood right in the middle of Manhattan. Accessibility to the rest of the city is unlimited, so people working throughout Manhattan can get wherever they need to go. However, Gramercy is extremely pricey, so budget-conscious movers might choose another neighborhood.