Tucked away between 23rd Street and 18th Street is the neighborhood of Gramercy and its center piece, Gramercy Park. The private park is one of only two remaining in New York City. The area could be very much likened to Brooklyn where the traffic is far less noisy than Manhattan and more families with small children can be seen moving along at a much slower pace than the rest of Manhattan. It is the closest thing to suburban living in Manhattan.
Gramercy Park will not necessarily awe people with any distinguishing characteristics. Though, it is the oasis of Manhattan, a place to see the abnormal, by Manhattan standards, not the rest of the country. The quiet suburban atmosphere makes the neighborhood seem out of place in the urban Manhattan jungle. The park is nothing extraordinary, aside from the statue of the famous 19th century Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth which is displayed prominently in the middle of the park. Booth, the older brother of President Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth, was once a resident of the area.
Gramercy Park is very small and mainly serves the purpose for residents to catch up on their reading or to just get fresh air. It has rules that forbid recreational activity such as Frisbee, soccer, etc. One resident compared the park to an Oceanside-view hotel room; it is only to be visually enjoyed. Since it is a private park the only way gain entrance into it as a visitor or tourist is by staying at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Most people will have to settle for being on the outside looking in the park. Although, the park is open to carolers on Christmas Eve.
If you do happen to make your way to the park be sure to stop by Pete’s Tavern, a great moderately priced restaurant on 18th Street. The restaurant specializes in traditional Italian dishes that are sure to please any and everyone who drops in.