If you don’t already know, Gramercy Park is not open to the public. The 2 acre park is enclosed behind a tall wrought iron fence that opens only with a key. To take it a step further the park’s locks are changed annually to dissuade anyone from distributing copies. Much to the chagrin of some New Yorkers, the approximately 400 keys in circulation are a gift bestowed only on those living in one of the buildings immediately surrounding Gramercy Park. Even more crazy is the fact that qualifying for a key doesn’t mean it’s free. A key to Gramercy Park costs $350 a year, and don’t even think about losing it because that will run you a steep $1,000 for a replacement. So how does the average New Yorker get to experience Gramercy Park? There are a couple loopholes that will allow you to experience this gated oasis, even if it’s only for a short time.
Option 1: Check in to The Gramercy Park Hotel. It might not be common knowledge but since the hotel is situated on the real estate directly bordering the park the hotel is permitted to possess the coveted keys. Before the rules were tightened, hotel guests used to be handed keys, but now those guests yearning to experience the park need to be escorted into (and then out of,) the park by a member of The Gramercy Park hotel staff. Even If you’re not an out of towner, but rather a city resident, you should think about booking your next stay-cation at this hotel.
Option 2: Sing for it. Every Christmas Eve for one hour, and ONLY one hour, the public is allowed into Gramercy Park for a park board sponsored Christmas Caroling session. If you’ve always wanted to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in 20 degree weather, while surrounded by perfectly manicured hedges….. your dreams can now become reality.
Option 3: Befriend a keyholder. There is an insanely large list of park rules. These rules include but are not limited to: no smoking, no pets, and no admittance to the park after dusk. Keyholder are, however, permitted to take as many as 6 guests into the park at any one time. As far as we are aware there is no public list of all who own property bordering Gramercy Park. With enough sleuthing, though, finding one of these property owners and subsequently becoming their BFF could be your way to get the key to Gramercy Park.
If none of the above loopholes strike your fancy you can always keep an eye out for any property that crops up around the park. It might cost you an arm and a leg but New York City is expensive anyway so you may as well put your dollars towards this brag-worthy amenity.