Keys to Gramercy Park Secure Privacy in the City That Never Sleeps

With only 383 in existence, obtaining one is like getting a key to your own private kingdom. In a world that’s under siege by NSA surveillance and the social networks, privacy is no longer our precious status.

That is, unless you’ve made it to New York City. There, an oasis called Gramercy Park allows entry for a small select group to a private green space that’s been fenced off from the “madding crowd” for more than 180 years.


New York Times columnist Robin Finn described the urban visionary who developed the idea. “Samuel B. Ruggles . . . in 1831 deeded two acres of his property to be used as an ornamental park.” He saw a neighborhood of “discreet” mansions that would shield the acreage from “interlopers.”

Recent events

A section of Gramercy Park was received historic district designation on Sept. 20, 1966. On July 12, 1988, the original boundaries were expanded. The Gramercy Park historic district was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Real estate

A select number of Realtors feature home sales and rentals in Gramercy Park. Keller Williams Realty, located on Park Avenue, is one of the few. The firm has a proven track record of sales throughout Manhattan and has earned a sound reputation for finding the right accommodations, inside and adjacent to the Gramercy Park neighborhood.

What’s available?

Finn notes that out of the 383 keys manufactured for park users, 126 are building keys managed by doormen or concierges and signed out by residents. “The other 257 are so-called ‘personal’ keys: for $350 a year, a condo or co-op owner disinclined to borrow a key from the doorman can buy his or her very own key,” says Finn.

Gramercy Park Hotel

People who want to test the waters to find out what’s so special about having a key to this exclusive enclave, can book a room at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

The hotel is a modern take on a traditional grand New York hotel, with custom-designed, handcrafted furnishings, and a rotating collection of 20th century artwork. Overnight stays entitle guests to a special day pass to the park.

If you’re interested in learning more, check with Keller Williams Realty or the Gramercy Park Hotel staff. Certainly having a key to the kingdom in today’s world of limited privacy would provide you with an opportunity to stop and smell the roses before returning to the hustle of the city that never sleeps.

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