From 6-7pm this Christmas Eve, the Gramercy Park Block Association will open the park’s iron gates to the public for its annual holiday caroling hour with the local Parish of Calvary-St. George’s. And though this may not seem like much time, it’s probably the only chance New Yorkers will get; all other times, Gramercy Park is only accessible to those who live in the 39 building surrounding the square and are lucky enough to have one of the 400 keys.
As 6sqft previously reported, “only those who live in dwellings circling the park have keyed access via an annual fee.” They can, however, bring a maximum of five guests at a time. Every year, lock manufacturer Medeco changes the non-duplicable locks and keys for the four gates to ensure they’re not replicated. Each key is individually coded and numbered. If one of the 39 surrounding properties doesn’t pay its annual $7,500 assessment fee, its key privileges will be revoked. Individuals who lose their keys will be set back $1,000, or $2,000 for second-time offenders! This system has been in place since the park opened in 1831.
Up until 2007, the park was open to the public on the first Saturday in May, known as Gramercy Day. But the trustees said it “had turned into a street fair, and the residents didn’t want that,” so they opted instead for one hour on Christmas Eve. If you’re planning to attend the December 24th festivities, keep in mind, you cannot bring in alcohol, dogs, or bikes and you can’t smoke, play any sports, or feed the birds and squirrels.