Tag Archives: Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park and Vicinity

Gramercy Park is a private park between E20th and E21st Streets, ending Irving Place and beginning Lexington Avenue. The park is restricted to tenants of the surrounding buildings; a high fence and locked gates keep it that way.

Much of the surrounding area is part of the Gramercy Park Historic District. The park itself is closed to the public, so this gallery is devoted to the beautiful architecture.

Enjoy! And visit!

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Gramercy House

Gramercy House is one of New York’s most colorful apartment houses, designed by George and Edward Blum. The prolific architects designed at least 70 apartment buildings and 60 commercial structures in New York, but only three in the Art Deco style.*

Like most of the Blums’ apartment houses, Gramercy House is distinctive for its unusual brickwork and ample terra cotta – notably the bold geometric band above the first story. Even the rear light courts (viewed from E 23rd Street) have broad blue terra cotta bands. The corners of the E 22nd Street facade have bricks set at an angle, and setbacks in the upper floors have unusual inset chamfers. Contrasting brick bands break up the facades on E 22nd Street and Second Avenue.

* The other two are 210 E 68th Street (1929) and 315 E 68th Street (1930).

Gramercy House Vital Statistics
Gramercy House Recommended Reading

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Scheffel Hall

Scheffel Hall, named for German poet Joseph Victor von Scheffel, recalls the days of Kleindeutschland (Little Germany), home of German immigrants on the Lower East Side.

Carl Goerwitz, a waiter who emigrated to New York in 1873, took over the lease on 190 Third Avenue in 1894. He hired the architectural firm of Weber & Drosser to remodel the building and join it to adjacent buildings that he already owned. The elaborate facade mimics Friedrichsbau at Heidelberg Castle. According to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, the building is among the earliest surviving examples of terra cotta cladding.

In 1904 Goerwitz subleased the building, and it was eventually bought by adjacent Allaire’s restaurant. In the early 1900s the establishment was popular with politicians and writers (including O. Henry).

In more recent years the building was home to jazz club Fat Tuesday’s. It is now a pilates studio.

Scheffel Hall Vital Statistics
Scheffel Hall Recommended Reading

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295 Park Avenue South

295 Park Avenue South was built in 1892 as the home of the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The terra cotta children seen at the seventh floor are modeled after those designed by Andrea Della Robbia at the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence, according to Gramercy Neighborhood Associates.

The building was converted to rental apartments in 1982, and is now known as Park 23 (for its East 23rd Street location).

If every building has a story, this one is about Mary Ellen McCormack. The 10-year-old child, who was whipped daily for no apparent reason and dressed in rags, attracted the attention of a social worker. At the time, no city agency could help. In desperation the social worker reached out to the founder of the ASPCA, who enlisted a lawyer… Long story short, the abusive mother was found guilty of assault and battery, Mary found a good home, and the NY Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was born. But you should read the full story.

295 Park Avenue South Vital Statistics
Recommended Reading

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