Gramercy Park Soap
These highly collectible and aggressively sought items from the old (before 2009 renovation) Gramercy Park Hotel were recently discovered in a box labeled “90’s Stuff” in one of my storage bins. The history of the Gramercy Park Hotel is glamorous and well documented. Gramercy Park History Back in the late Eighties and early Nineties Gramercy Park was my lodging of choice; cheap, a warm long-in-the-tooth restaurant, rickety elevators and an elderly staff of busboys, bellhops and housekeepers.
Back then a lodger like myself would lock his room with a big brassy key and then hand it to the front desk attendant as I ventured out into the Irving Square area of Manhattan. You would ask for your room key and any messages on your return. I remember the steam heat in the winter, noisy and perspiring, windows foggy with condensation. The daily rate was very affordable and I have photos of me painting in the suites, plastic tarps taped to the walls and floors, paint jars and brushes on the wobbly table. A hotel guest would also get daily access to the private park across the street, a sore point for many of the New Yorkers who would come to visit me… how can such a wonderful, centrally located park be private! Gramercy Gate Controversy
The Gramercy Park Hotel was the first location for what was to be known as the Armory Art Show. Originating in 1994 the multiple gallery “group” exhibition was called the Gramercy Art Fair. As the showcase became more popular and flourished in popularity it outgrew the upper floors of the hotel and moved five years later to 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Ave. location of the historic 1913 avant-garde exhibition.
The Gramercy Park hotel was once an affordable and vital crossroads for all types of people and persuasions. Today, Gramercy Park Hotel brandishes a multi-million dollar renovation Bohemian-Rhapsody and has become one of the more expensive hotels in New York City, boasting an art collection that rivals most museums. From bars of soap to a soapbox about the banality of luxury and exclusivity.