neighborhood highlights

Must-See Gramercy

by Jonathan Zeller and Harrison Peck, 02/16/2011

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  • Landmarks Around the Park
    A quick stroll around Gramercy Park's vicinity yields peeks at landmarks that are notable both for their architecture and for what goes on inside. The National Arts Club is worth a look for its facade alone—remodeled in the 1880s by Calvert Vaux, the building's exterior features busts of Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante and others, along with a carving of Michelangelo's head. Inside, some gallery shows and other events are open to the public. And if you find a member who'll bring you to the dining room as a guest, the cuisine will be well worth the effort. The Players, another private club, has counted the likes of Mark Twain, Norman Rockwell and Arthur Miller among its ranks. Its home, a Stanford White–remodeled mansion, mostly hosts private events for the organization's illustrious membership, but occasionally opens its doors to the public for special events. The Brotherhood Synagogue inhabits a former Quaker meetinghouse distinguished by, among other features, its soaring windows and distinctive pediment. Today, the Greek Revival building hosts a full slate of community activities including, for example, concerts and yoga. Another house of worship, The Parish of Calvary–St. George's, is a national landmark and a striking Romanesque Revival structure. And at Stuyvesant Square, a four-acre public park (no key required!), you can salute Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's bronze statue of Peter Stuyvesant himself (his great-great grandson sold the land to the City for the princely sum of $5 in 1836). —JZ

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