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Gramercy - Manhattan

Gramercy Park is, of course, the heart of this neighborhood, but unlike most parks in most cities, you can't get into this one unless you have a key to it. It isn't open to the public and hasn't been since it was first opened in 1831. This exclusiveness helps set the tone for the whole neighborhood, where nannies stroll with other people's children and poodles walk their owners.

Although Gramercy looks like it's for the filthy rich only, finding an affordable place here, especially toward the East River, isn't impossible. Just note that noisemakers of any kind won't be tolerated here, as residents like things quiet. They're also not big fans of change, so expect to do as they do if you decide to move here. The Poetry Society of America is located here, just upstairs from the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South (only open during NAC events and for private parties).

Gramercy looks and feels a bit like Boston's Back Bay or better yet London, with its elegant brownstones and clusters of little townhouses. Finding a place in one of these elegant townhouses on the park or in one of the stone-row houses (most complete with doorman) will be tough; you'll have better luck finding space in one of the newer high-rises that line the area. This is a great place to raise a family-if you can afford it, that is-or live a quiet, peaceful existence in the center of Manhattan in a clean, relatively safe neighborhood. Most apartments here are single-family dwellings, and many older professionals also live here.

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