Gramercy Park: National Arts Club
For anyone living in apartments near Gramercy Park, there is the park itself, a private sanctuary available only to key holders in the buildings around the park. There are other treasures, too, including the National Arts Club (NAC). Membership in the NAC includes many perquisites, including access to the coveted Gramercy Park key.
A Bit of History
Unlike most apartments near Gramercy Park, the magnificent building(s) that make up the NAC are spacious and more than a little notorious. To begin, the National Arts Club is three buildings, 14 and 15 Gramercy Park South, and an adjoining studio building that possibly provides an escape tunnel (more on that later). The two Gramercy homes were bought, in the 1860s and 1870s, some years apart by Samuel Tilden, attorney, New York governor and failed presidential candidate.
Foe of “Boss Tweed," Tilden had the two houses melded into one grand mansion in the 1880s, possibly including a tunnel. Whether he really did this or not—to escape attacks from his enemies—in 1906 the art studio and apartment tower on 19th Street would have obliterated the tunnel.
In 1906, The National Arts Club moved in and has enjoyed the mansion and tower ever since. Though sometimes the center of scandal and sometimes the centerpiece of movies, the NAC has enjoyed esteemed membership and a quiet dignity all its own. Still resplendent in high Victorian style, the interiors are spacious, magnificent and peaceful.
The NAC has many committees to oversee the Club’s activities such as archeology, culinary arts and more. The august Admissions committee passes judgment on member candidates, making entry into the NAC a social coup. Past members have included William Merritt Chase, Frederic Remington, and Theodore Roosevelt.
From apartments near Gramercy Park a quick stroll to the NAC gets you to the four galleries with rotating exhibits, programs on visual arts, literature, film and more. The Club charges no admission fee for the exhibits and is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With membership in the club, without having to own one of the apartments near Gramercy Park you gain access to the little two-acre haven behind four locked gates just across the street from the NAC. If, too, you join a member for one of the exclusive events at the NAC, you can also get into the park. The limited number of keys, their yearly re-keying, and the enormous annual fee (upwards of $7,500 per lot) make Park a very exclusive oasis.
Though the exhibitions are free and continually changing, you can also sign up for drawing classes at the Club. At $15 a class, these Monday, Wednesday and Friday night classes are a very inexpensive way to live the life of a Victorian baron while improving your artistic skills.
Stuyvesant Town apartments are just East of Gramercy Park. To inquire about apartments near gramercy park, contact our leasing office at 877-774-1849.