Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park is the only surviving private park in New York City. It was developed by Samuel Ruggles who bought this land in 1831 from one-time mayor James Duane. Ruggles drained the marshy site and, adopting a real estate technique used in British (and French) speculative housing projects, laid out 66 building lots around a central park. This pattern of development enabled Ruggles to sell lots on the premise that homeowners would have access to a private park--an exclusive privilege which still draws residents to this location today. The first brick row houses were designed and built by A. J. Davis in the 1840s-50s during the heyday of brownstone construction, and occupied by important professionals and politicians. In the late 19th and 20th centuries the area has been home to performing and visual artists. In 1966 the park and surrounding blocks were designated an historic district.