Sparring Gramercy Park Sides Agree: Park Shouldn't Be Public

Monday, May 17, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM EDT
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Sparring Gramercy Park Sides Agree: Park Shouldn't Be Public

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National Arts Club President Aldon James is Gramercy Park's chronic ailment: The trustees of the gated oasis would rather not have him, and they never know when he's going to flare up.

James, who lives in the club at 15 Gramercy Park South, has been having a ball lately, scaling the gates when the park has been closed for maintenance and calling for more access for non-key-holders.

But don't call him Robin Hood quite yet. The Wall Street Journal looks at the latest dust-up over the park, and both sides —J ames and the trustees (Arlene!!!) — agree that the lushly landscaped two acres should not be made public.

James just wants the rules loosened up a bit, so he broke the six-guests-per-key regulation and brought 20 Columbia grad students into the park on May 5th. He was then sent a letter reminding him of the rules — accompanied by a photo of the group in the park.

Creepy! Is Gramercy Park even worth the fuss?

Not according to one former key holder interviewed by the Journal, kept anonymous because clearly this is some serious stuff:

"Unfortunately, the park itself is not that functional for younger residents. I spent little time there, which is a shame considering it is a beautiful place with lots of history, as well as interesting art. You are not able to walk or relax on the grass, and the benches are definitely not intended for socializing."

Many have argued that the park is meant to be ornamental, not functional, so Gramercy Park's failure as an actual park makes perfect sense. Still, whatever gets Arelene's knickers in a twist is fine by us. And that list now includes a proposed bar at 38 Gramercy Park, which may be the bigger threat to the park's peace than a bunch of Ivy Leaguers.

Copyright © 2010 Curbed NY

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