Neighborhood Intel

Thanks to Airbnb and Google Maps, Gramercy Park gets a little less exclusive

By Virginia K. Smith  | December 2, 2014 - 12:59PM

Gramercy Park is one of the most elite, inaccessible outdoor spaces in the city—you need to live on its perimeter to get a key—but previously verboten photos of the interior are now public, courtesy of one tech-savvy (and rule-breaking) Airbnb renter.

Those in charge of the park forbid photography for anything other than private, personal use—they've nixed both Woody Allen and Robert De Niro's bids to shoot there, the New York Times reports. But when Shawn Christopher visited for the first time in May, and his Airbnb host gave him a key, he immediately took 360-degree photos on his smartphone and uploaded them to Google maps (you can view them here). "I just really wanted to share this with other people," he tells the Times.

While the Gramercy Park Block Association has no plans to ask Google to take the photos down, according to its president Arlene Harrison, they're less than thrilled about how Christopher got access in the first place. Technically, park rules dictate that guests have to be escorted by a key holder—which Christopher was not—though a quick browse of listings on the site indicates that plenty of hosts offer up key access to guests (for an extra fee, natch).

Something tells us the powers that be in the neighborhood will be cracking down on rent-able keys sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, a few of the (comparatively) affordable options for apartments directly on the park: 

A $3,700/month 1-bedroom at 38 Gramercy Park, which comes with the "possibility" of both maid service and a key to the park.

A $1,995,000 2-bed, 2-bath co-op in a fully staffed building on Gramercy Park East.

And, for a shorter-term commitment, a $198/night studio available for a minimum stay of three nights on Airbnb, with optional park access.


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