gramercy park, kips bay

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001 “The Block Beautiful” 002 Stuyvesant Fish House 003 3 and 4 Gramercy Park West. 004 National Arts Club 005 Brotherhood Synagogue
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006 The Players 007 Scheffel Hall 008 34 Gramercy Park East 009 Friends Meeting house 010 Old Stuyvesant High School
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011 326, 328 and 330 East 18th St. 012 St. George’s Church 013 St. Mary’s Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite 019A Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, North Building 015 One Union Square South.
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016 Western Union Telegraph Building 017 Con Edison Building 018 Marble Collegiate Church 019 Metropolitan Life Insurance 020 New York Life Insurance Company
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021 Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava 022 Century Association. 023 Methodist Book Concern 024 Flatiron Building 025 Little Church Around the Corner
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026 Gilsey House 027 American Academy of Dramatic Arts 028 Estonian House 029 Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace 030 Touro College
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031 69th Regiment Armory 032 Kips Bay Plaza 033 St. Vartan Cathedral 034 Public Baths 035 Waterside
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036 Appellate Court 037 Post Luminaria 038 81 Irving Place 039 Our Lady of the Scapular 040- Decker Building


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.

During the initial period of neighborhood development, primarily in the 1840s and 1850s, the streets of Gramercy Park became solidly lined with brick and brownstone rowhouses and mansions, as well as institutional buildings such as churches, that were commonly found in residential areas. As would be expected, the lots facing the private Gramercy Park itself were among the most prestigious places of residence in pre-Civil War New York. Examples of the fine houses erected during this period can still be seen on Gramercy Park West and South, within the designated district.

Rowhouses also lined most of the side streets between 14th and 23rd streets, and a significant number of these still survive on the blocks to the south of the park. Some of these rowhouses are within the designated district, notably those on East 18th and East 19th streets between Irving Place and Third Avenue. Additional rowhouses on East 19th Street are within the proposed Gramercy Park Historic District Extension; others, on East 17th Street, are within the proposed 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District; and a few on East 15th and East 16th Streets are being proposed for individual designation. To the north of the park, on East 22nd Street, was a mix of rowhouses and carriage houses, while Lexington Avenue between the park and East 23rd Street contained two mansions. Very little that dates from this early period of development remains to the north or east of the park, with the exception of a series of simple mid-19th-century Greek Revival and early Italianate mixed-use residential/commercial buildings on Third Avenue, all within the proposed Gramercy Park Historic District Extension.

A new period of development in the Gramercy Park area was ushered in in 1869 with the construction of the Stuyvesant Apartments on East 18th Street (demolished). Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, this is generally credited with being the earliest apartment building erected to attract a middle-class clientele. In the 1870s and 1880s, the Stuyvesant was joined by a series of other early apartment houses, notably 129 East 17th Street (1878), thought to be the oldest intact apartment house in the city. Several important multiple dwellings were erected during the 1880s, including the Gramercy at 34 Gramercy Park East (George da Cunha, 1883; within the designated district), one of the earliest cooperatives in New York, and 155 East 22nd Street, designed in 1889 by DeLemos Cordes, the earliest extant multiple dwelling erected in the section of the neighborhood north of the park.

In the decades that followed, apartment-house construction flourished on East 22nd Street and on Gramercy Park North and, to a lesser extent, on the streets south of the park. Early in the 20th century, two interesting apartment houses joined DeLemos Cordes' building on 22nd Street between Third and Lexington avenues: Sass Smallheiser's Beaux-Arts building at 144 East 22nd Street (1901) and Bernstein Bernstein's unusual building at 152-156 East 22nd Street (1907) with its five stepped gables and extensive terra-cotta detail. In 1912, a multiple dwelling planned specifically for bachelors appeared at 52 Irving Place. This handsome Colonial Revival style structure with suites of rooms that lacked kitchen facilities was one of a small group of New York apartment houses planned for single men in the early years of the 20th century.

During the 1920s, the character of Gramercy Park North was completely transformed as the old rowhouses were replaced by tall luxury apartment houses and a hotel. The first apartment house along the park's northern face was 1 Lexington Avenue, begun in 1910. Between 1926 and 1929, three additional large-scale apartment houses were begun on Gramercy Park North, and in 1924 work began on the Gramercy Park Hotel at the northwest corner of Gramercy Park North and Lexington Avenue; the hotel was extended in 1929-30, completing the transformation of this park frontage. Contemporary with the Gramercy Park North buildings is the flamboyant apartment house at 81 Irving Place, northwest corner East 19th Street, designed by George Pelham and ornamented with fantastical terra-cotta detail.

In the second and third decades of the 20th century, during the time when many of the large apartment houses were being developed on Gramercy Park, a change occurred in the design and use of many of the surviving side-street rowhouses. By the early 20th century, few of these houses were being maintained as single-family dwellings. The affluent families who had inhabited them had moved elsewhere, and the Gramercy Park neighborhood lost some of its social standing. Most of the rowhouses were converted into boarding houses or into apartments. Many of the houses had their facades redesigned, as occurred on East 19th Street within the historic district, or underwent less radical changes, such as the removal of a stoop (this facilitated the rearrangement of the interiors for apartment use). Although the facades of many of the surviving rowhouses located to the south of the park remain intact, others exhibit these early 20th-century alterations.

The changing character of the neighborhood caused by the movement of prosperous residents to other areas had a second result, the redevelopment of certain sites into loft and factory buildings. Commercial redevelopment moved eastward, into the Gramercy Park neighborhood, from the Ladies' Mile along Broadway. By the early 20th century, loft buildings were being erected on Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South) and on many of the adjacent side streets, appearing as far east as Irving Place.

The most interesting development to the north of Gramercy Park was the transformation of the area just south of 23rd Street into a center for charitable institutions. In the late 19th century, New York's charitable organizations grew in number and size, in response to the growing interest that middle- and upper-class reformers had in attempting to change conditions in the city's growing poor and immigrant communities. The reformers established or invigorated organizations that furthered new developments in housing, health, education, social work, and other fields and offered charity to certain poor people in need. Their work represents the explosion of organized efforts by affluent citizens to effect change in the city. Not all of the efforts of these reformers led to positive changes, but they were able to accomplish many important reforms which set the stage for much of 20th-century American social policy.

The growth of the charitable organizations and the expansion of their missions led to a corresponding growth in the number and scale of buildings erected to serve the needs of both organizations and the city's needy population. In the last years of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th century, progressive reformers successfully petitioned for an increase in the number of schools, parks, public baths, courts, and other civic structures, and they built settlement houses for the poor and office buildings to meet their own needs. There are four buildings in the proposed historic-district extension that were built to house the headquarters of important institutions - the United Charities Building, the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Building, the Church Missions House (a designated individual landmark), all build in 1892-93, and the Russell Sage Foundation Building, built initially in 1912-1915 and extended in 1929-31. The Gramercy Park area may have attracted these charitable institutions because it remained a respectable neighborhood, it was centrally located and convenient to mass-transit lines, and land was less expensive here than in newly fashionable areas to the north.

In addition to the headquarters buildings for philanthropic organizations, four buildings were erected as centers of progressive social programs - the Manhattan Trade School for Girls (1915-19), the Children's Court (1912-1916), and the Domestic Relations Court Building (1937-39) are all within the boundaries of the proposed historic district extension, while Washington Irving High School is in the proposed 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District. Each of the buildings erected for charitable or civic purposes is of historical and/or architectural interest in its own right; together they create an extremely important complex of major social-service buildings.

The designation of the proposed historic district extension, and of the additional district and series of individual buildings, as proposed by Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, Inc., will preserve the comprehensive history of the architectural and social development of Gramercy Park.

The Gramercy Park Historic District, roughly East 18th to East 21st Streets between Park Avenue South and Third Avenue is an easy stroll. The park itself is the centerpiece of the district of tree-shaded streets lined with a variety of 19th century residences, from 1840s rowhouses and brownstones to Victorian Era Queen Annes and neo-Gothics. Irving Place, which bisects the district offers small shops, a few galleries, and restaurants.

From 1831, when Sam Ruggles bought the property, through 1845, this exquisite piece of Manhattan real estate was a swamp the Dutch called Crommashie. Ruggles drained the swamp and planted willow, elm and chestnut trees, roses and lilacs, and herbaceous borders. Gradually Sam Ruggles's vacant lot grew so beautiful it became a popular pleasure spot to which Knickerbocker New York strolled of an evening.

Not many New Yorkers wanted to live this far uptown, and by 1845, there were only two houses on the square. But Sam Ruggles had a vision and he just went along blithely planting. Just as Sam knew they would, the city folk wanted, no, needed, a park, but not all of the city folk.

The 42 lots he set aside for Gramercy Park, to ensure "the free circulation of air," were developed specifically for those who bought the surrounding building lots in his planned residential square. His deed of December 17, 1831 established this and it holds true to today, although residents of surrounding blocks may now buy visiting privileges. The park, with a tax exemption arranged by Samuel Ruggles, is still owned by the residents of the surrounding square.

Sam Ruggles laid out Irving Place, naming it for his friend Washington Irving. He also laid out Lexington Avenue, running it south to north, in the face of the prevailing wisdom that a maritime city's main thoroughfares should run east and west between the rivers. Sam knew the city would grow north and the people would come. When they did come, the residents received golden keys with which to unlock the gate to the park.

In time, leading New Yorkers, like his own son-in-law, George Templeton Strong, the social lion Stuyvesant Fishes, inventor (and founder of Cooper Union) Peter Cooper, architect Stanford White, future governor Samuel Tilden, book publisher and Mayor of New York James Harper, sister poets Phoebe and Alice Cary, concert singer Emma Thursby, novelist and critic Carl Van Vechten, Paul Rosenfeld, music editor of "The Dial," Wall Street broker, critic and poet Edmund Clarence Stedman, (who refused to attend a Gramercy Park dinner in honor of Oscar Wilde), Herman Melville, John Barrymore -- all came to live on the square or in neighboring streets surrounding Sam Ruggles's park. President John F. Kennedy even lived here as a boy before his father was appointed ambassador to England. President Theodore Roosevelt was born a half block away on East 20th Street and a reconstruction of his family home is a museum today.

New Yorkers love Gramercy Park, a green oasis in Midtown, between East 20th and East 21st Streets. They stroll past eyes wide open to its beauty and elegance of design. Eyes open wider to include the grandeur of the park's surrounding architecture, the coherence of its physical and ambient character. Finally the eyes open the heart and New Yorkers are grateful that a place like Gramercy Park has been preserved for its peace, its grace, and for the unique opportunity it gives to look into a great city's past.

Grateful, even if most New Yorkers will never get inside the gates.

A short walking tour:

Gramercy Park West

No. 4, the home of James Harper, has out front two mounted iron lamps, following the custom of New York mayors to announce their domiciles to the public. James Harper was the founder of Harper Brothers publishers, later Harper & Row.

Gramercy Park South (East 20th Street)

No. 15 was the home of Samuel Tilden, Governor of New York. The windows have original sliding steel panels and the house a secret passageway to 19th Street, through which Tilden might avoid political enemies and escape, if necessary, New York City's roving riots. It was designed by Calvert Vaux in Gothic Revival brownstone with black granite trim. It is now the National Arts Club.

No. 16, The Players' Club, was the home of Edwardian actor Edwin Booth, brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth. The club has a portrait of Edwin Booth by Sargent hanging over the main fireplace. There is a bronze statue of Booth in his role as Hamlet inside the park. No. 16 is a truly exquisite brownstone with a two story Tuscan porch and iron lanterns.

No. 19 was the Hamilton Fish House in the 1890s, later occupied by publicist Ben Sonnenberg, and actor John Barrymore. It has undergone a recent restoration.

No. 23, now the Brotherhood Synagogue, was the Friends Meeting House, a lovely building, austere enough for Quakers, built in 1859 and set in a patio type yard.

North (East 21st Street)

Dominated by the current Gramercy Park Hotel on what was the site of the Stanford White home. The house had been occupied more by White's wife than by Stanford White, who had a bachelor apartment on top of the old Madison Square Garden. He was shot to death in the Roof Garden there on June 25, 1906 by the husband of his lover, Evelyn Nesbit, a Floradora Girl.

East 19th Street (Between Irving Place and Third Avenue)

Known as “The Block Beautiful” - this is a row of mainly stuccoed buildings that were remodeled early in the 20th century by Frederick J. Sterner. The block was an informal colony for artists and writers in the 1920s and 1930s, such as author Ida Tarbell, painter Cecilia Beaux, and the sculptor Zolnay. Music critic and novelist Carl Van Vechten, lived at 151 East 19th Street and with his neighbors, painters George Bellows and Robert Chanler, threw wild parties, about which Ethyl Barrymore commented, "I went there in the evening a young girl and came away in the morning an old woman."

Real Estate 2001: Neighborhood Profiles
Gramercy Park and Union Square


By Allen Salkin

What was once a Dunkin’ Donuts at 220 Park Avenue South is now Gavin Citron’s très fabu Aleutia, where birchwood-smoked venison loin with pistachio ragout is served up for $32 a plate. That’s the way things have gone everywhere around Gramercy Park and Union Square in recent years. From the soaring One Union Square South—with its impossible-to-read steaming clock, its Virgin Megastore, and its pricey rentals, to Gramercy Park, where Richard Tyler’s house recently sold for $16.5 million, this once-forgotten area perfectly situated between downtown and uptown has been remembered in a big way.

STREET LIFE: Community Board 5 chairman Kyle Merker warns that some of the charm that helped attract interest in the Union Square area has been paved over. "Mom’s Cigars is gone. Eureka Joe’s Coffee is gone," Merker says. "The rents have gone out of control. Landlords are not renewing leases, with the hopes of getting those higher rents."

CREATURE COMFORTS: The opening of Barnes & Noble on East 17th Street in November 1995 signaled the start of a major retail-improvement boom. The apparently endless renovation of the subway station and Union Square Park is almost complete. And the farmer’s market has flourished, bringing huge, crisp apples, fresh greens, and all sorts of other produce to grateful hordes. Bid farewell to the old 14th Street—Bradlees, the bankrupt discount chain, is vacating its prime Union Square South roost. One rumored replacement tenant is H&M.


TIPPING POINT: Locals say the crowning moment of the area’s revival was the opening in November 2000 of the W New York hotel at 541 Lexington Avenue. "The area was underserved in terms of high-end hotel rooms, and they absolutely bring a lot of class to the area," says resident and real-estate broker Emily Tannen of AJ Clarke.

WHAT'S NEW: At 136 East 19th Street (on the stretch off the park called "Block Beautiful"), a brownstone was converted to six high-end condos, a small but typical project. On a grander scale, One Union Square South brought 154 prime rental units, and fourteen stadium-seating movie screens, to the ’hood. An infamous 1989 ConEdison explosion outside 32 Gramercy Park South was a low point for the area, but in the past five years, there have been 35 sales in the building, says Corcoran broker Chris Leavitt. On 14th Street, NYU has built new dormitory towers where the Palladium disco once was, bringing thousands of college kids.


PROGNOSIS: It’s hard to imagine how any neighborhood can support what seems like three new sushi restaurants a block, but places with unique raw-fish stylings like Sushi Samba are busy. The only direction possible for residential growth is east along 14th Street and a few pockets between First and Second Avenues. Expect it. And say farewell to the funky downmarket stores on Park Avenue South. Like Dunkin’ Donuts, they’ll vanish as their leases expire.

If You're Thinking of Living In/Gramercy Park; A Long Sense of History, And a Private Park 
Published: August 29, 1999, Sunday 

GRAMERCY PARK is full of distinctions. It has the oldest surviving co-op building in the city (34 Gramercy Park East, built in 1883), which had the last hydraulic elevator in the city (electrified in 1994). It has the largest Victorian mansion in the city (the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South), which was the city's first private club to admit women on an equal basis with men (in 1898). 
Most distinctive of all is that Gramercy Park itself is the only private park in the city. 

Landscaped and leafy, the park defines the neighborhood, which runs from 14th to 23d streets and Park Avenue South to Third Avenue. The gates are locked for all but one afternoon a year, usually the first Saturday in May, when the park is open to the public. Other times, access is limited to residents and guests of buildings that occupy the surrounding lots, with the keys changed every Oct. 1. 

Residents of the area extol the sense of place and homey feel that come from the area's small scale. ''I realized early on that Gramercy Park had a lot of charm,'' said Frederick Gorree, who moved from Greenwich Village almost 35 years ago to a four-story brownstone he bought on East 19th Street. ''Being an architect, I was attracted to the historic buildings.'' 

Mr. Gorree is vice president of Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, a group interested in preserving the area's architectural history. He worked on creating the East 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District, established last year. The park itself sits in the Gramercy Park Historic District, designated by the city in 1966. 

The neighborhood ''is an urban oasis,'' said Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, which monitors safety and quality-of-life issues. ''It's what urban living should be. There are tons of high-powered people living here, but they come here to escape the glamour and the confusion.'' 

A block away, the city erupts again. Third Avenue and 23d Street are the main commercial corridors. The invigorated Union Square is just to the south, and the area is replete with restaurants. (People fret, though, about the encroachment of sidewalk cafes, with their noisy, late-night crowds.) A place of honor is held by Pete's Tavern at Irving Place and 19th Street, said to be a favorite watering hole of O. Henry. Greenwich Village and midtown are each a pleasant walk away. 

''The term Gramercy has such cachet that people six blocks away say they live in the Gramercy Park neighborhood,'' Mr. Gorree said. 

Many people indeed have stretched the boundaries of what they consider the desirable Gramercy area, said Mary A. Vetri, a real estate agent at the William B. May Company. 

''AT one time, it was, 'I have to live on the park,' but now people are willing to expand,'' Ms. Vetri said. ''When people say they want to live in Gramercy Park, they themselves have established boundaries that consider it to be a large area. They are willing to go up into the high 20's.'' What is more, she added, ''they know they're coming into a pricey area.'' 

As in many upscale parts of the city, housing stock is scarce. There are fewer than 500 units directly on the park, and ''the turnover isn't high,'' said Benita Cohen, an independent real estate broker who has lived on Gramercy Park North for 20 years. 

She told of a four-bedroom a partment she first sold five years ago for almost $1 million and then resold a year ago for exactly twice as much. ''Today I would get another 50 percent,'' she said. 

''The properties are unique. It's such a mixture of town houses and lofts and apartment buildings that there isn't a lot of duplication.'' 

The only rental building on the park is 36 Gramercy Park East. The only condominium is 7 Gramercy Park West. (It was formerly a convent.) Several historic co-ops -- including 34 Gramercy Park East and 24 Gramercy Park Southand 1 Lexington Avenue -- are ''like overgrown town houses'' inside, Ms. Cohen said. ''There is a big variety and a big price range.'' Home prices are noticeably lower below 18th Street, she added. 

The range starts at about $140,000 for a studio, she said. As for family apartments, ''the last of the really large apartments sold several years ago in the $3 million range but needed a lot of work,'' she said. 

One-bedroom units sell for $200,000 to $500,000, but the ones currently available ''don't face the park,'' Ms. Cohen said, adding. ''They're not the spectacular one-bedrooms.'' 

Another broker, Judith Thorn of Ashforth Warburg Associates, equated Gramercy Park prices with those of the best addresses on the Upper East Side. ''Gramercy Park has an uptown-downtown reputation in that a lot of artists and actors have lived there over the years,'' she said. ''It's always had a nice mix. The buildings are artsier and more liberal in feel.'' 

Two-bedroom prewar co-ops facing the park sell in the $700,000 to $900,000 range, she said. ''Property on the park itself is always priced higher than in the neighborhood, and has always held its value in all markets,'' she said. 

The park itself, surrounded by a wrought-iron fence, is governed by a handful of trustees, elected by the surrounding lot owners for lifetime terms. ''You get to know people across generations, with old and young out in the park together,'' said Sharen Benenson, chairwoman of the trustees. ''The children are perfectly safe locked inside the park. It gives them a great sense of independence, and they do all of their bug hunting and whatever they do.'' 

Park protocol is strictly observed. The sidewalk is washed every day, and jogging is allowed only at certain hours. (It is fine to jog on the sidewalks outside, however, which abound with dogs and dog-walkers.) 

Each lot is allowed two keys, which people can borrow from their doorman. A park-keeper, a gardener and several part-time employees maintain the park, paid for by an annual assessment of all the lots. Its centerpiece is a statue of the Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth. 

For at least five years, too, the park has been a battleground between the trustees of the park and the National Arts Club. The groups are feuding about such issues as tree removal, pest control and whether the park should be accessible to outsiders. 

At one point, the park was swampland. Its name is an Anglicized version of ''krom moerasje,'' Dutch for ''little crooked swamp.'' 

Samuel Bulkley Ruggles bought and drained the land, laid out the streets and, in 1831, divided the land into 108 lots. The park occupied 42 of the lots, and homes went up on the remaining 66. (Those are the buildings granted keys to the park.) 

''It was not fashionable to live so far north,'' said Ms. Benenson, the chairwoman of the trustees. ''Ruggles thought it would encourage people to buy lots and build houses if he would build a private park.'' 

TWO town houses have been remodeled and are now private clubs: the National Arts Club and the Players (16 Gramercy Park South). The 1857 Brotherhood Synagogue at the southeast corner started life as a Quaker meeting house. Calvary Church, part of the Episcopal parish of Calvary and St. George's, stands near the northwest corner. 

Most of the homes on the tree-filled block of East 19th Street between Irving Place and Third Avenue were designed or decorated by the architect Frederick Sterner shortly after the turn of the century. 

Although many of the children go to private schools, the neighborhood public schools are well regarded. Children in public school in prekindergarten through fifth grade are zoned for the 550-pupil P.S. 40 on 19th Street between First and Second Avenues. 

(Children in the southernmost blocks, below 16th Street, are assigned to P.S. 19 on 12th Street and First Avenue.) 

In 1999, 78 percent of the pupils at P.S. 40 read at or above grade level, putting it in the top 8 percent of city schools, said Andrew Lachman, a spokesman for District 2. Nearly 60 percent of those children continue on across the street at P.S. 104, the Simon Baruch School, with 950 children in the sixth through eighth grades. About a quarter of those students go on to the High School for the Humanities on 18th Street. 

The Gramercy Park area includes the seven-story Washington Irving High School, completed as a school for girls in 1913. The building's vast Gothic-style lobby includes elaborate woodwork, a balcony and several decorative murals. Also in the vicinity are Mabel Dean Bacon High School on East 22d Street and Baruch College on East 23d Street. 

The Gramercy Park Block Association, Ms. Harrison's group, was formed in 1994 when her teen-age son was attacked at night. The group has joined with the precinct on safety programs and worked to increase the number of street lamps and the wattage of existing ones. 

Traffic congestion is the area's biggest complaint, said Carol Pieper, district manager of Community Board 6, especially where southbound traffic is forced to turn off Lexington Avenue, which ends abruptly at the park. 

People also complain about parking, since the 13th Police Precinct and the Police Academy, one block east on East 21st and East 20th Streets, consume many of the curbside spaces. Where allowed, parking around the park itself is metered. 

POPULATION: 7,327 (1997 estimate). 
AREA: .0745 square mile. 
MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME: $66,972 (1997 estimate). 
TRAVEL TO MIDTOWN: 5 minutes on No. 6 subway line, 10 minutes by bus on Third Avenue or Park Avenue South. 
GOVERNMENT: City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez, Democrat. 
CODES: Area, 212, 646; ZIPs, 10003, 10010. 
ROOTS: A plaque on the sidewalk outside of Starbucks on Third Avenue at 23d Street stands testament to the good intentions of the defunct Third Avenue Merchants Association, known as TAMA. In 1977, the group embarked upon a program to beautify the avenue, from 14th to 34th Streets, by lining it with trees. The group ran an annual street fair, with the proceeds earmarked for arboreal upkeep, said Joseph LaMarca, a former officer of TAMA and owner of LaMarca Restaurant and Cheese Shop on East 22d Street. The plaque sits at the foot of the first tree, a London plane planted by then-Mayor Abraham D. Beame. A metal grate, subsequently added to protect the roots, is so severely buckled that it presents a hazard to pedestrians. ''The tree grew into its grate,'' said Mr. LaMarca. ''If you remove it the wrong way, the tree will die, and nobody wants to address it.'' 

Published: 08 - 29 - 1999 , Late Edition - Final , Section 11 , Column 2 , Page 5 

Correction: September 5, 1999, Sunday

A picture caption with the Gazetteer chart last Sunday, about Gramercy Park, misstated the address of the building shown. It is 32 Gramercy Park South, not East. 

Copyright New York Times.