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New York City Parks: Gramercy Park

By Jeff Myers

Gramercy Park is a private, fenced-in park located between East 20th and 21st Streets in the Manhattan part of New York. Gramercy Park's history is just as rich and varied as the city of New York itself. The area that's now Gramercy Park NY started as swamp land. In 1831, a developer named Samuel B. Ruggles (1800-1881) suggested the concept of a park on the property then owned by James Duane called Gramercy Farm.

Gramercy Park began with the draining of swamp land and the creation of parcels of land around what became the park. First landscaping of the personal park began, surrounded by a fence erected in 1833 that still exists today, happened over the next 15 years. Further planting in 1916 declined the park's prim and formal design. Gramercy Park Manhattan was opened to Union infantrymen in 1863 to express thanks for shielding the park in the time of the the Civil War.

Gramercy Park history includes the districts surrounding the park. The Player's Club and two of NYC's first residences are among the well regarded architectural structures in the area. A statue of 19th century actor Edwin Booth as Hamlet was placed in the park by The Player's Club in 1916. Lots of the city's oldest churches are found in the area with a previous Underground Railroad location. A Victorian mansion that once served as a home for once NY governor Samuel J. Tilden. It is also home to several charity foundations that are also located in the consequential areas surrounding the Gramercy Park.

There had been an attempt to run a cable car through Gramercy Park in 1890, but it was defeated by those seeking to preserve the park. In 1966, part of the area was designated a historic district. The area including the park was officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. A 4.5 ton bronze sculpture known as Fantasy Fountain was added in 1983. Gramercy Park remains one of New York's two privately ran parks, owned by the owners of the encircling properties as intended by Mr. Ruggles when he first proposed the idea for a park in 1831. Today, Gramercy Park is still famous for its flowers that bloom in early spring and lush greenery that brighten up the park well into autumn.

The area surrounding the park has held on to its sense of style, regularly matched against London's West End. Zoning laws mean no building in the area will be built higher than 20 stories tall. Nonetheless, the majority of the buildings in the area are under six stories tall. Gramercy Park Hotel was added to the location in 1925 and remains a popular place for New York visitors to stay. A collection of restaurants and bars known as Irving Place remains a popular place for New Yorkers and visitors to gather. The history of Gramercy Park is as rich and diverse as the city of New York itself and continues to please all who enjoy the park.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Friday, August 23, 2013

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