The National Arts Club

The National Arts Club, founded in 1898 and originally located on 34th Street, was conceived as a gathering place for artists as well as art lovers and patrons. National Arts Club members included such luminaries as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the foremost American sculptor of the late 19th century; Daniel Chester French, best known for his design…

Tilden Mansion: Victorian facade and political scandal

Though Samuel Tilden failed to become an American president, he succeeded in creating a masterpiece of a home. While working as an attorney in 1863, Samuel J. Tilden purchased a home in Gramercy—the most fashionable area in town at the time. When he became governor of New York in 1874, he bought a mansion at…

Block Beautiful—Mediterranean in Manhattan

The perfect rhythm of adjacent brownstones forming one solid street facade define the character of 19th-century New York. These streets posses the romantic quality of the old New York and attract us with their stately yet reserved uniform presence. By the end of 19th century, however, their uniformity was loosing its charm and to some…

The Illustrious Residents of Gramercy Park

The neighborhood of Gramercy is defined by a most unique feature: a private park. But it has attracted such an impressive number of notable personalities that the list of Gramercy Park residents may very well rival its “private park” reputation. #3&4 – James Harper (resident from 1847 to 1869) James Harper was the mayor of New York…

A Dutch Tradition in Gramercy

Even though New York City started its story as New Amsterdam, there is very little of the old Dutch town left to see. Through the years, the Dutch-looking houses perished or simply were replaced by newer structures. However, a small remnant of the old Dutch tradition can still be found in front of the house…

The Keys to Gramercy Park

The dignified tranquility of Manhattan’s only private park is ensured by the heavy locks on the park’s gates. The park has been functioning as a private front yard for the Gramercy home owners since being gated in the 1830s and locked in 1844. Ever since Mr. Ruggles, a visionary developer, deeded the land, Gramercy Park…

Gramercy Park—from Swamp to Private Park

This charming little park can only be enjoyed from the outside . . . unless you happen to have a key. The general public is welcome to stroll around or stare into the park through the fence but is not allowed in. Gramercy Park has a rare distinction of being the only private park in…

Mamie Fish – the “Fun-Maker” of the Gilded Age

    “Can I get something for your throat, dear?” – inquired Mr. Stuyvesant Fish. His wife retorted: “Yes, this diamond and pearl necklace I saw today at Tiffany’s.” The most irreverent broad of the Gilded Age, Marion (“Mamie”) Fish did not shine with beauty. Nore with education. Heavyset, stern, barely literate, and often quite…

Stuyvesant Fish House @ 19 Gramercy Park South

The house at 19 Gramercy Park South does not look like much from the outside. But do not be fooled by the modesty of the facade – a hold out from the Gilded Age era, it just might be “the Greatest Private House in New York.” By the 1870s, the Gramercy Park neighborhood had become…

Edwin Booth, the Hamlet of New York

In the center of Gramercy Park, there is a statue. It depicts an actor in the role of Hamlet, forever contemplating “To Be or Not To Be”. This actor is Edwin Booth. One of the great American Shakespearean actors of the 19th century, he was particularly famous for his signature role of Hamlet. In 1864…

The Players

The Players is a private social club formed to promote communication among artists and patrons of the arts. Modeled after London’s famed Garrick Club, The Players was the first American club of its kind. Location: 16 Gramercy Park South Built: 1844 Architect: Stanford White The Players was founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth, the widely-known…

O.HENRY – A VERY SHORT STORY

Yes, William Sydney Porter, better known to the world by his pen name O.Henry, lived right across the street from the Pete’s Tavern at 55 Irving Place. Yes, like so many writers, he was a heavy drinker, and Pete’s Tavern was his regular spot for imbibing and turning out some of the best short stories…