Gramercy: The Gramercy Park Hotel
A New York landmark since 1924, the Gramercy Park Hotel is located at 2 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood. It has served as home to a vast number of distinguished guests for most of a century. The Gramercy Park Hotel provides a vast collection of custom furnishings and artwork in every room. Its location is adjacent to Gramercy Park, which is the only private park in Manhattan. The park is accessible only to guests of the hotel.
Gramercy Park Hotel History
The "Gramercy" in Gramercy Park comes from the Dutch "krom moerasje" which means crooked little swamp. The area was one of the swampy lots given out in the 1830s as a means of enticing people to move to the area. Eventually, elegant townhouses would be built on that former swampland along with the park, Lexington Avenue and the Gramercy Park Hotel.
The hotel was designed in Renaissance Revival style by Robert T. Lyons and constructed on site of Edith Wharton's childhood home by the Developers Bing and Bing. Construction lasted from 1924 to 1925. That location was also the former home of architect Stanford White.
The hotel would be where Humphrey Bogart married his first wife, Helen Menken in 1926. Babe Ruth became a regular at the bar during the 1930s. It was also where Joseph Kennedy stayed with his family for several months before moving to London for Kennedy's appointment as American ambassador. The Kennedy family lived on the second floor.
Hotelier Herbert Weissberg would purchase the Gramercy Park Hotel in 1958 and it would come into its own during the next decade due to its bohemian vibe. Over the course of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the Gramercy Park Hotel would draw a range of writers, musicians and actors as guests including Bob Dylan, David Mamet and David Bowie.
A period of decline that started in the 1990s would continue until the hotel was taken over by Ian Schrager after Weissberg's 2003 death. In collaboration with artist Julian Schnabel, Schrager renovated the hotel and reopened it in 2006.
The Gramercy Park Hotel's Art Collection
These days, the hotel’s walls are decorated with a museum-quality art collection featuring paintings by a range of artists including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Aside from Hirst's work, most of the collection is the work of contemporary American Masters. Their hallmarks include the use of unconventional materials along with the mixing of high and low culture.