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New York City

Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park is a small, fenced-in private park in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park is at the core of both the neighborhood referred to as either Gramercy or Gramercy Park and the Gramercy Park Historic District. The approximately 2 acre (0.8 hectare) park is one of only two private parks in New York City; only people residing around the park who pay an annual fee have a key, and the public is not generally allowed in – although the sidewalks of the streets around the park are a popular jogging, strolling and dog-walking route.When the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission created the Gramercy Park Historic District in 1966, they quoted from John B. Pine's 1921 book, The neighborhood around Gramercy Park, which is divided between New York City's Manhattan Community Board 5 and Manhattan Community Board 6, is generally perceived to be a quiet and safe area.

Boundaries
Gramercy Park itself is located between East 20th Street, called Gramercy Park South at the park, and East 21st Street (Gramercy Park North) and between Gramercy Park West and Gramercy Park East, two mid-block streets which lie between Park Avenue South and Third Avenue. Irving Place commences at the southern end of Gramercy Park, running to 14th Street, and Lexington Avenue, a major north-south thoroughfare on the East Side of Manhattan, terminates at the northern end.

Park Ownership And Access

Gramercy Park is held in common as one of the city's two privately owned parks – Sunnyside Gardens in Queens is the other – by the owners of the surrounding structures, as it has been since December 31, 1831. Two keys are allocated to each of the original lots surrounding the park, and the owners may buy keys for a fee, which was originally $10 per key, but as of 2005 was $350, with a $1,000 fee for lost keys.. The locks are changed annually.Members of the Players Club and the National Arts Club as well as guests of the Gramercy Park Hotel, which has 12 keys, have key access, as does Calvary Church and the Brotherhood Synagogue. In addition, the owners of the luxury condominium apartments at 57 Irving Place, which was completed in 2012, will have key access to the park, despite being located several blocks from the park, by becoming members of the Players Club.

At one time, the park was open to the public on Gramercy Day – which changed yearly, but was often the first Saturday in May. In 2007, the trustees announced that the park would no longer be open for Gramercy Day because it "had turned into a street fair".The park, however, continues to be open to the public on Christmas Eve.In 2001, Aldon James of the National Arts Club that adjoins the park brought about 40 children, mostly minorities, into the park from the nearby Washington Irving High School on Irving Place. The trustee at the time, Sharen Benenson, called police alleging that the children were trespassing.The police refused to take action. Later, a suit was filed against the park's administration in Federal Court.The suit was settled out of court in 2003. Most of the children settled for $36,000 each, while one received $50,000.