Although the park itself is just one square block, its unique beauty and seclusion set the tone for the entire neighborhood (extending from 14th-22nd Street, and Park Avenue to the River). The brownstones and doorman buildings surrounding the park are hard to come by – the park is locked to all but the lucky few who inhabit them. The rest of us have to be content with standing outside its wrought iron gates, looking in. Still, the blocks nearby have much of the same quiet, suburban feel. Be prepared to pay well for the luxury of peace and tranquility…
The closer you are to the park, the nicer the building. Luxury brownstones and prewars line the park and the streets around it, giving way to slightly more affordable tenements and new constructions. Larger apartments are in short supply in Gramercy, so if it’s a lot of space you need, expect to pay.
While it’s not exactly the thriving foodie haven of the East Village, Gramercy does boast some outstanding restaurants. The Gramercy Tavern on 20th Street is consistently voted one of the best places in the city, and hip new establishments like Fleur de Sel are springing up all over the neighborhood.
Gramercy still has a reputation as a no-man’s-land of nightlife, but the fact is that things have changed considerably in the last 10 years. Along 3rd Avenue, a genuine scene of chic bars has emerged, and hipsters and regulars alike flock to the seedy, welcoming arms of The Bar on Gramercy Park. Pete’s Tavern, a favorite of O. Henry’s, is the oldest surviving bar in New York City, dating back to the Civil War!
The Lower East Side has an abundance of open air. East River Park, stretch of greenery along the river, features bike paths, playgrounds, soccer and baseball fields, even an amphitheater with a band shell! A jaunt across the newly-renovated Williamsburg Bridge footpath makes for a pleasant weekend walk, and there are numerous playgrounds and tree-lined squares throughout the neighborhood.
Veteran New Yorkers will tell you that the Lower East Side is today what the East Village was 20 years ago. The influx of young blood will continue and accelerate, transforming the neighborhood further into the hip place to be in Manhattan.
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