Friday, May 21, 2010

Gramercy Park: The Creepiest Place in Manhattan?

I came across the poster shown above just the other day. It's an artist's view of Gramercy Park in Manhattan, and it was part of a subway ad campaign a while back. I really wish I had found the image while I was writing The Eternal Ones, because it does a great job of capturing my feelings about the park. (Though I can't quite understand the kitty. Anyone know what that's about?)

I have a feeling that the artist intended the park to look like a sunny, green oasis in the center of the city. But it comes off as a wee bit sinister, wouldn't you say? Almost as if it were luring unsuspecting visitors into a trap. (Once again, the kitty doesn't help.)

For those of you unfamiliar with New York City, Gramercy Park is one of the only private gardens in town. It's circled by a tall, wrought-iron gate, and in the very center of the greenery is a statue of a man whose brother killed Abraham Lincoln. But the really creepy part? It's always locked, and there's almost never anyone inside. I've lived in New York for almost 20 years. I've never known anyone with a key to Gramercy Park. And I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone strolling the garden's paths.

The mansions surrounding the park only add to the ambiance. Years ago, I attended a memorial service at the National Arts Club. The experience made such an impression that I kept the building in the back of my mind for over a decade, waiting for a chance to use it. Some readers may have noticed a few similarities between the National Arts Club building and the mansion that houses the Ouroboros Society. Let's just say that it's not a coincidence.

I hope I haven't scared you away. Next time you're in New York, you really should pay a visit. Lost City did an excellent guide to the Gramercy Park neighborhood. Check it out here.

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