Manhattan's private park will be open to commoners once again for a single hour of holiday spirit on Christmas Eve.
The Gramercy Park Block Association opens the towering iron gates of Gramercy Park to the masses at 6 p.m. tonight for 60 minutes of carol singing inside the park—a holiday tradition for the association, which prohibits the public from accessing the precious green space for 364 days and 23 hours a year.
"Please bring a flashlight," the group's flier suggests.
The "park" is highly-exclusive; there are just 400 keyholders who get the perks of a private front yard without paying any additional property taxes per square foot compared to neighboring apartments for access to the oasis, a Gothamist/WNYC investigation found earlier this year. The tax-free status dates back to an early 20th century court ruling that handed over keys to wealthy Manhattanites at the time. (Mayor Bill de Blasio has suggested the "unusual" status should be "reassessed.")
The literal gatekeepers once allowed their fellow New Yorkers inside Gramercy Park in May, until it "turned into a street fair," according to self-described "Mayor" of Gramercy Park Arlene Harrison. We're guessing it has to do with the awkward timing of May Day, but who can know!
The carol singing will be led by Park Trustees Harrison and Rev. Tom Pike, Harrison confirmed. Gates close at 7 p.m., when the 365-day countdown for "park" access begins again.