Last week I told you all about my love affair with Bendel's, and while it most certainly is my favorite place in Manhattan, I have to admit I've been cheating on Henri a little with Gramercy Park. . It's a rare gift to be able to find a quite, tranquil, spot in such a fast paced and ever changing city, but this park is truly a sanctuary. If you're not familiar, Gramercy park is the only private park in the city, and one of only two in the entire state. Only those who live around the park are given a key (which are changed annually to prohibit duplicates or hoarding of keys after someone moves). At any given moment, only about 380 people are in possession of said keys, including (either past or presently) Julia Roberts, Karl Lagerfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Uma Thurman, and Chelsea Clinton.
Turning the key and opening one of the four, six foot tall, wrought iron gates, I immediately feel like Samantha from The Secret Garden. Once you're inside you realize just why the board is so insistent on exclusivity. It may be the most pristine and well manicured spot in the whole city. Usually there are about four groundskeepers on duty, hard at work, and one lady operating as the self-appointed warden. It should comes as no surprise that the park is so immaculate because there are countless restrictions for those who enter. These amendments range from, no throwing balls or frisbees (or stepping on the grass, for that matter), no feeding the birds, a limit of only six guests at a time, and pets are prohibited.
But despite the long list of constraints, it is one of the most amazing places in the city. It's the perfect place to sit and read a book and just relax. It's been the most gorgeous space to watch the season change, this past year.
While it will be difficult for any place to top Bendel's in my heart, Gramercy Park is a close close second.