20 July 2010

Gramercy Park

 it's the small details-just outside the hotel 

while in New York, I stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel. With unprecedented luxury- Ian Schrager has returned the once lustrous Hotel back to life. It goes without saying- the interiors are at once both bohemian and elegant. I could easily see the likes of Babe Ruth and Humphrey Bogart inhabiting its rooms.

all images above from the Hotel site

the Hotel is deep in Bohemia. The photographs on the Gramery Park site do not do its interiors full justice-perhaps it is the brightness of the photos that creates a false sense of sunniness. No, not here-& I loved it. A hazy film of the past hangs in the air and evokes another era. In my room-the walls were a deep pea green with deep red velvet curtains lined in ivory charmeuse. The headboard was a matching green velvet like the walls with some intricate trimming and studding. Navy velvet blankets drape the foot of a cream duvet covered bed. Dark hardwoods with all the scuffing of age, are left to add ambiance.Ceiling lights in vintage style hold open bulbs with beading shades attached.

It is the little details that make the Gramercy such a standout. Room numbers are all cut into the carpet right at the door. Special candles from Le Labo were created exclusively for the Hotel-(Cade 26) is a smoky, waxed wood scent that wafts through the main rooms of the Hotel. Tiny closets fitted with studded red chests were just one of the little luxuries-I was quite taken with.

& then- there is THE PARK.

just outside the Hotel door is Gramercy Park-
With the turn of a key time dissolves momentarily. The neighborhood drew the great actor Edmund Booth to establish The Player's Club and Stanford White renovated the still standing building for Booth. The Club was home to Booth & He died there in 1893.

the Park is centered around the statue of Edwin Booth

Stanford White's brownstone was once on the Hotel's site-& though the townhouse was torn down in the 1920's to make way for the Gramercy Park Hotel- a bit of Stanford White's aesthetic haunts the renovated Hotel's decoration.
The original hotel was designed by Robert T. Lions and built by brothers Bing and Bing in 1925. The hotel's current incarnation is the vision of Julian Schnabel.

Stanford White by John Singer Sargent
this Sargent portrait hung at the Player's Club-Gramercy Park

Hotel image

Julian Schnabel 
Boston Globe photo by Wigan Ang

Michael Weschler photo for the NYTimes

the Stanford White townhouse at Gramercy Park

 NYTIMES image

Luminaries that lived in the neighborhood: John Garfield, Samuel Tilden, Thomas Edison, James Cagney, Margret Russell, John Barrymore, John Steinbeck. Humphrey Bogart lived in the Hotel for 2 years and was married in the Gramercy, the Kennedy family occupied the second floor before moving to London when Joseph became Ambassador. Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy lived together at the Hotel in the 1940's.

Bogart & Helen Menken,1926

Wilson & McCarthy

New York holds corners throughout the city  much like this one- celebrity, artists, musicians, writers came there to make their names & fortunes, But here in Gramercy Park the click of heels, the swish of furs, the tap of walking sticks can still be distinctly heard- even above the modern rush of a city's screams and howls.

more places to stop

The Gramercy Park Hotel here
Gramercy Park here
the History bit here , & here & here
art in the rooms at The Gramercy magnumphotos.com here


  1. Before it was redone, the Gramercy was a favorite amongst the French. It was so run down and melodramatic, one almost expected that the guest in the room next door had to be some rock star nursing a particularly vertiginous acid trip. Soooo New York...I guess I would now prefer comfort to fantasy. Has age something to do with this ?

  2. Ivan, definitely still that sort of thing going on next door! It still does have this sort of hovering spirit in the narrow corridors and in the room too honestly. It is very chic, comfort definitely and trippy too. Age. Definitely. I realized this when I got in a dirty cab with a shorter than usual dress(wondering how women tolerate it) and returned grabbing same skirt in too high heels with the wind gusting at 11 to turn in,while passing the young smoking on the street and a bar full-alas-the city is exhausting.With Age- wisdom and a mandatory 8 hours.pgt

  3. I remember lovely photos in the Gramercy that appeared in the old not now gasping for air Victoria magazine. I thought it was Edwardian~fast forward.Not now so much perhaps. I have so have given up too short skirts and too tall heels. No allure there. I side with IT regarding comfort to fantasy, whether it is age or love that has something to do with it, I know not.

  4. Home, Yes exactly my point! A too short skirt for me is the knee-as I rarely wear them-the thing was- the seat of the cab was feeling hot and sticky gross,sweltering really, But as I was on my way to dinner at La Grenouille I felt I needed to dress up a bit.As I said the Gramercy does have an air about it no doubt. Gaye

  5. Thank you for showing me the New York I didn't see. These interiors are everything you say they are and more. The ceiling lights looked like, how can I say, fish tails or something like it, amazing! And yes, it was hot.



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