Gramercy Park is a famous little nook nestling between approaching high buildings in a little square between 20th and 21st Streets just off Fourth Avenue. The Park was a gift from Samuel B. Ruggles to the owners of the adjoining property and is a private possession not open to the public.
Many famous men, including Cyrus W. Field, Samuel J. Tilden, Edwin Booth, etc., have lived in Gramercy Park, which has been recently subject of sympathetic and delightful little essay by Mr. John B. Pine, a Trustee of Columbia University and a resident of the Park.
On 19th Street an interesting experiment has been successfully carried out whereby several very ordinary houses have been most artistically remodeled and now present a most attractive and artistic appearance. The block is known as "Pomander Walk."
At 28 East 20th Street, near Broadway, is the house in which was born that great American, Theodore Roosevelt, soldier, statesman and ex-president of the United States.
At 22nd Street, opposite Gramercy Park, is the offices of the Russell Sage Foundation. Admission free between 9.45 to 10 P. M. to the Library of over 12,000 volumes on its specialty, the question of social and living conditions.
The Players' Club is at 16 Gramercy Park. The Club House was a gift from Edwin Booth. who made his home in the upper front room. It is still preserved exactly as he left it. The club possesses Booth's private library, his prompt books and Shakespearean costumes. During Booth's lifetime it was the custom of all the members in the lounging room to rise as Mr. Booth started to go upstairs and the courtly "good-night, Mr. Booth," makes a pleasant memory.
The Club erected a magnificent statue last year within the confines of the jealously guarded Park, of Booth in his favorite character, Hamlet. It is one of the most beautiful works of art in the city. Mr. Quinn is the sculptor.
The National Arts Club has its building a few doors west of the Players. It entertains nearly all the literary and artistic lions who visit New York in the season.
Leaving Gramercy Park and going West a few short blocks, we now approach what New Yorkers are pleased to think is the greatest street in the world—Fifth Avenue. At all events, it is easily the most fascinating, the most beautiful and by all standards the most interesting in the city. It has a distinguished lineage and was for years the most exclusive residential section in town. In these by-gone days, to live "on the Avenue" was of itself an unimpeachable patent of social nobility and even in its transition from fashion to business it has maintained and preserved its old time aristocratic atmosphere. It begins at the Arch in Greenwich Village.
Before we enter this historic roadway, let us pause for a moment and recall the stirring scenes here enacted during the dark days of the Great War. The first rumblings of the approaching storm were heard in the measured tread of 100,000 men who marched in the Preparedness Parade. Solemn and impressive was its meaning—wake up, America! In a few weeks the storm broke in all its fury and for the next two years Fifth Avenue is no longer an exclusive New York possession, but becomes a Highway of the World.