Named after a small, serene private park that is considered the heart of the chic neighborhood, Gramercy sits on the east side of Manhattan between 14th and 23rd Streets and First and Park Avenues. Known for its historical and architectural significance, the area is the former home of such luminaries as Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Edith Wharton, Eugene O'Neill, O. Henry and James Cagney. On the quiet stretch of streets are a number of venues that will gladly welcome groups, including such signature Gramercy venues as the landmark National Arts Club and the exquisite Gramercy Park Hotel.
Out-of-town visitors will be relieved that they can easily travel to and from Gramercy, given that it is not too far away from New York's major airports—it takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes via cab to and from LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. Frequent taxis and nearby subway stations also ensure convenient access to other parts of the city.
As for hotel venues in Gramercy, alas, planners have less than a handful of options: The luxurious Gramercy Park Hotel, developed in partnership with Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel, features whimsical touches, including works by 20th-century artists, such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst, throughout the 185-room property. The Marcel at Gramercy Park has a more mod vibe throughout its 136 guest rooms. (While technically not in Gramercy, the W New York Hotel—Union Square is within walking distance and offers 270 rooms.)
A few miles away are the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Piers 92/94, the largest meeting venues in New York City. Gramercy also has a few event options within its vicinity. Baruch College, City University of New York features the William and Anita Newman Conference Center which can accommodate up to 170 people. A few blocks away, The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza has the capacity to host up to 1,000 people throughout its three levels. The National Arts Club, housed in the 19th-century townhouse of former New York governor Samuel Tilden, offers a grand gallery with a capacity for 250 people, and two parlors for parties up to 100; however use of the venue is reserved for members and approved guests.
Dining venues in Gramercy abound with establishments by notable restaurateurs, such as Mario Batali's Casa Mono and Danny Meyer's Blue Smoke. Other venerable institutions are Pete's Tavern, also the oldest surviving saloon in New York, and The Gramercy Tavern, known for consistently getting high reviews from food critics year after year. Other choice spots are Friend of a Farmer for classic American staples and Yama for sushi.
Downtime calls for exploring the surrounding environs, including the Greenmarket in Union Square, headline bands at the Blender Theater and experimental productions, such as "Fuerza Bruta" at the Union Square Theater.