The development of Gramercy began after Union Square was planned in 1830 and was originally swampy land. Samuel B. Ruggles provided the master plan and helped create present day Gramercy Park. He also named Irving Place after Washington Irving. Gramercy Park was created in 1831 as a cooperative private park with only buildings overlooking it getting keys to its gates, a system borrowed from London. The oldest buildings date from the late 19th century. The area has second a public green space at Stuyvesant Square on Second Avenue. Educational institutions include Baruch College and the School of Visual Arts (I attended the former and am an Alumni of the later). The Players Club and the National Arts Club are both on the park and are magnificent landmarks from the 19th century. Irving Plaza and the Gramercy Theatre are popular contemporary music venues. Gramercy’s borders are First Avenue to Park Avenue and 14th Street to 23rd Street. Gramercy Park is located in the center of the Gramercy Park Historic District with fine townhouses and New York’s first cooperative apartment building at 44 Gramercy Park North.
The name Murray Hill comes from the Murray family farm, which once occupied the area. Mrs. Murray’s is famous for entertaining British soldiers, distracting them, and providing George Washington time to escape the city. There is also an actual hill with a noticeable incline that peaks at 36th Street and Park Avenue. In the late 19th and early 20th century, it was one of Manhattan’s most fashionable neighborhoods with handsome row houses on many blocks between Third and Fifth Avenues as well as the Morgan Library, which all still stand and are preserved as part of the Murray Hill Historic District. The Morgan Library on Madison Avenue is, a neoclassical building by Charles McKim paired with a newer addition by Renzo Piano. I’m proud to have sold a building directly across the street known as the ‘Bishops House’ with it’s beautiful stained glass skylight; it’s a commercial building today that began its life as the residence of the Arch-bishop of NYC. Newer developments join the historic row-houses with low-key, high-rise, doorman buildings . Murray Hill residents appreciate the neighborhood’s understatement and convenient location adjacent to Midtown and Gramercy. Murray Hill’s borders are from 34th to 42nd Streets and Fifth Avenue to the East River.