Gramercy is a U.S. historic district renowned for its nineteenth century buildings of distinctive architectural style. Lovely pre-war townhouses surround the neighborhood’s namesake, Gramercy Park, an exclusive green space lying at the district’s heart. The park is accessible to the residents of the neighboring luxury co-ops, although it requires them to pay for their keys. Gramercy remains, however, one of the city’s most accessible neighborhoods, and one of the most beautiful and historically rich. Despite some disagreement, Gramercy is generally recognized as lying between Park Avenue South and the East River between 14th to 23rd Street. Gramercy, close to “hospital row” on 1st avenue, is primarily residential, but is within walking distance to the dining, shopping and entertainment of Union Square, Greenwich Village and the Flatiron District.
The name Gramercy derives from a Dutch phrase meaning “little crooked swamp.” The district, one of the city’s first attempts at urban planning, is appropriately named: Gramercy Park was once in the middle of a swamp. Developed by Samuel B. Ruggles—a 19th century lawyer who planned the park and neighboring buildings—Gramercy was meticulously designed with a unified architectural style. Indeed, its architectural importance prompted its historic district designation. Along Gramercy’s tree-lined streets one can find pre-war townhouses of modest Greek Revival style with decorative cornices and ornate Italianate with arched windows. Buildings from later in 20th century make the neighborhood somewhat of a cross-section of American architecture. The architectural style unites these pre-war buildings with the Park, and makes Gramercy an oasis of calm within the city.
One of the most recent architectural highlights of the neighborhood is Baruch College’s 17-story “Vertical Campus”, a fantastic $319 million construction which is considered one of the best campus buildings nationwide. The school attracts over 16,000 students to the area and is one of the country's top-rated colleges for curriculum and value with three acclaimed schools of discipline. Baruch also hosts NYC Karate Dojo, a school of Shotokan Karate, which offers top level and free martial arts classes to all New York City students, including high school and middle school kids.
Gramercy is a luxury neighborhood that offers an abundance of culture and serenity, even if you don’t have keys to Gramercy Park. There is a unique British feel, and the preserved community architecture breathes life back into Old New York. And with Gramercy’s cosmopolitan surroundings, the urban rush can be found just a short walk away.