Gramercy Park: An American Bloomsbury

Carole Klein, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (330p) ISBN 978-0-395-44525-9
The Gramercy Park neighborhood with its London-like square, which became 19th century Manhattan's cultural center, was created in 1831 by Samuel Ruggles, a visionary lawyer and real-estate investor, and his son-in-law George Templeton Strong, a man of broad artistic and literary interests. In this well-researched study, Klein (Aline, etc.) vividly recreates the bustling activity of New York's commercial and social life surrounding the park's serene residential enclave, now a landmark area, where artists and stage and opera stars mingled with writers, business and civic leaders and philanthropists. Its elegant homes and the Players' and National Arts clubs, located on the square, harbored George Bellows, Stanford White, Edwin Booth, a galaxy of authors including Mark Twain and Edith Wharton, publisher James Harper, Gov. Samuel Tilden, Cyrus Field, William Cullen Bryant and Peter Cooper, among others, and played host to overseas celebrities such as Nellie Melba, Sarah Bernhardt and William Thackeray. An amusing chapter depicts social gatherings of the 1920s and '30s, lively parties given by arts arbiter Carl Van Vechten, and the more formal entertaining of ghetto-bred, celebrity press agent Ben Sonnenberg. Illustrated. (December)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 330 pages - 978-0-8214-1028-8
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