Oh, to live on Gramercy Park! For over 180 years, a Gramercy Park address has inspired excitement and longing in countless generations of real estate obsessed New Yorkers. Steeped in romance and tradition, this tucked-away jewel-of-a-garden has regally borne witness to endless city intrigues, politics, and scandals. In a city where the landscape shifts before your very eyes, Gramercy Park remains staunchly and unapologetically the same as it ever was. Private. Beautiful. Insular. Desirable. Not a bad racket for one square block of fenced in greenery. For all these reasons and more, we decided to focus our lens on this remarkable neighborhood where the glory of New York City’s past stands shoulder to shoulder with the present. And we’ll bring it all to you in less than four and a half minutes running time! We hope you enjoy it.
When I first moved to the city in the early 90′s, one of the first places that freaked me out…as in get-me-out-of-here-I’m-about-to-get-beat-up freaked out…was Union Square. It was a nasty place with a bunch of smack addicts trying to figure out if you were the avenue to their next fix. A few smack addicts still hang out here, but the Square has been cleaned up tremendously. It is home to one of the best farmer’s markets in the country, there’s a fantastic playground for the kids and there are plans for a new restaurant in the pavilion, though they keep getting scuttled by one group or another. So this is Union Square now…how did it get here?When surveyors were working to carry out the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 (the one that created Manhattan’s grid), they realized that the Bloomingdale Road (Broadway) cut at a strange angle just north of Bowery which would have made development difficult. They decided a square would solve this problem, so the city turned this former potter’s field into a commons for the public called Union Place. By 1832, the park was finished and surrounded by empty lots.
But, that all changed and Olmstead and Vaux’s redesign landed in the proverbial “File 13.” Check back Friday morning for Union Square. Now.