• Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/flissphil/3045686384/">A circumnavigation of Gramercy Park 7, Manhattan, 19 Nov. 2008</a> by Phillip Capper

Gramercy

The haste and hullabaloo of the city calms considerably in the residential neighborhood of Gramercy Park. Dignified Gramercy Park, named for its 1831 gated garden ringed by historic buildings and private clubs, is an early example of the city's best creative urban planning. Just north of the park is Ian Schrager's reincarnation of the Gramercy Park Hotel on Lexington Avenue. South of the park, running north to south from 14th Street, is Irving Place, a short street honoring Washington Irving, which feels calm, green, exclusive, and has a combination of old and new eateries, stores, and architecture. Pete's Tavern, on Irving Place since 1864, maintains its claim as the oldest original bar in the city. Two famous writers, O. Henry (Gift of the Magi) and Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline), were "inspired" here, probably by the amazing eggnog or Pete's House Ale.

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