Photo by Sean Brady, courtesy of the Gramercy Park Block Association
It’s a Christmas Eve miracle. The gates to Gramercy Park will open to all for one hour on Dec. 24, the only time of year the public can enjoy the exclusive greenspace. The Gramercy Park Block Association on Friday confirmed to 6sqft that the private park between East 20th and East 21st Street will once again open from 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. for caroling this Christmas Eve. All other times of the year, the park is only accessible to residents with one of the 400 keys, provided to those who live in the 39 buildings surrounding the square.
Gramercy Park, Manhattan’s only private park, opened nearly two centuries ago as a gift from political figure Samuel B. Ruggles. The Trustees of Gramercy Park and the Gramercy Park Block Association still follow the original 1831 deed from Ruggles, who granted the surrounding residences “the right and privilege to frequent, use, and enjoy the Park as an easement to their respective lots.”
Each keyholder must pay a fee, which the New York Times reported in 2012 cost $7,500 per lot each year. The yearly fee grants two keys and each resident is allowed up to five guests. Plus, the locks and keys are changed every year.
As 6sqft previously reported, the park once opened to the public on the first Saturday in May for “Gramercy Day.” But after complaints of the event turning “into a street fair,” the trustees shut it down in 2007.
If you plan to check out the private park this Christmas Eve, remember the many rules of the space before you go: no dogs, no alcohol, no bikes, no smoking, no playing, and no feeding the animals. Park Trustees Arlene Harrison and Rev. Tom Pike will lead the caroling, with guests from around the world there to partake.
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- On Christmas Eve, the public can go inside Gramercy Park for one hour
- 104 years ago, the nation’s first public Christmas tree went up in Madison Square Park
Neighborhoods : Gramercy