GPBA Header
The Gramercy Park Block Association
Home | About Us | Gramercy Park | Donate

About Us



Arlene Harrison – President
Tara Rockefeller - Vice President
Norman Kurlan - Treasurer
Sean Brady
Dusty Brown
Kamel Boutros
Deirdre Connolly
Lynne Lerner
Kathleen Scupp

Archivist Rev. Thomas Pike

The Gramercy Park Block Association was formed in 1994, after Arlene Harrison’s son was brutally beaten by a random “wilding” gang of about 20 youths outside their home on Gramercy Park. To make something positive come out of this incident, a large group of determined neighbors from every building on Gramercy Park joined together to establish the Gramercy Park Block Association: a grassroots, proactive community group dedicated to public safety, crime prevention, historic preservation, and quality-of-life.

The GPBA, now an organization of 2,000 area residents, has become a powerful force in the Gramercy Park community and citywide, and has received widespread recognition for its many accomplishments.

The mission of the Gramercy Park Block Association includes: To educate the population of the area known as Gramercy Park as to the safety and security issues in this historic neighborhood, and to bring about civic betterment in order to promote the well-being of those who live and/or work in the greater Gramercy Park area.

The Association works with Community Boards, the NYPD, City Agencies, Historic-Preservation Groups, New York City Sanitation and Transportation Departments, city and state elected officials.

GPBA Communication Networks



 • Advisory Board
- Network of residents, board presidents, owners, institution heads of buildings on Gramercy Park and in its environs to address critical issues

• E-mail News Network - Weekly communications to members

Among GPBA’s Community Projects - Safety, Security, Quality of Life


• Armory
- Led neighborhood effort defeating plans for men’s shelter for Armory on Lexington Avenue at 25th Street. The shelter would have included Level 3 sex offenders, ex-convicts, and substance abusers, and was to be open 24 hours a day bringing thousands of men into our area for assessment

• Traffic - Recommended measures easing traffic congestion on Gramercy Park North, preventing cars from crashing into Park gate. These included traffic signs down Lexington Avenue from 28th Street to Gramercy Park North and desynchronization of traffic light on Lexington Avenue at 22nd Street

• Gramercy Park Hotel Redevelopment - Monitored quality of life concerns and held regular meetings with Hotel management, construction site supervisor

• Kenmore Hotel - Organized project that led to 1994 seizure by the US Justice Department of this crime-ridden hotel on East 23rd Street, the largest asset forfeiture in the history of federal government. Mobilized support for Housing & Services’ $30 million plan that turned Kenmore into a national model of affordable supportive housing

• Recognition Ceremony for Police Officer Scott Kimmins - Organized 2004 event honoring Kimmins on the 10th anniversary of takeover of Kenmore, citing him for his dedication and support of the residents

• First Amendment Rights - Led successful nationwide campaign in defense of area residents’ freedom of speech concerning a proposed facility to house homeless, mentally ill former drug abusers. Testified before Congress

• Trash Receptacles - Provide and maintain new trash receptacles around Gramercy Park

• Sanitation - Hold regular meetings with Department of Sanitation to improve sanitation

• Sewer Problem - Solved sanitation problem at southeast corner of Gramercy Park

• Lighting - Increased the wattage of area lampposts and facilitated additional building lighting

• Noise - Addressed issues of horn-honking, car alarm, loud radios

• Tree Gardens - Restored 41 tree garden fences, added cobblestones, provided plantings for area tree gardens

• Park Shed - Worked to restore existing shed

• Newsracks - Facilitated removal of newsracks

• The Cobalt Club - Addressed quality-of-life concerns at former Gramercy Park Hotel nightclub and was able to get them to remove entrance from Gramercy Park north

• Idling Buses - Eliminated air pollution problem in front of the Gramercy Park Hotel

• X-Rated Businesses- Succeeded in keeping them from our neighborhood

• Oversized Illegal Trucks - Worked to eliminate them from our local streets

• Panhandling at ATM Machines - Lessened Addressed aggressive panhandling

• Sidewalk Bike Riders - Worked to lessen this problem

• Disco on Park Avenue South at 20th Street - Supported successful effort to keep from our area

• Modern Steel Telephone Booths- Supported successful drive to keep additional ones from Irving Place

• Eden Farms Grocery - Worked to reopen this popular Third Avenue store

• West Nile Virus - Distributed information and set up monitoring with the health department

Among GPBA’s/NYPD Community Projects - Safety, Security, Quality of Life


• Graffiti - Organized successful Initiated effort to remove graffiti

• Wall of Honor - Led fund-raising campaign to Honor memory of PCT officers killed in line of duty

• Police Officer Anthony Sanchez Way - Led successful effort to name 13th PCT block in honor of the slain officer

• Community Bike Patrol - Purchased bicycles for the 13th PCT

• Project Kidcare - Provided children’s identification kits for neighborhood families

• 13th PCT Visits - Organize visits by neighborhood children


A Few of GPBA's Historic Preservation Efforts


• The former Sonnenberg Mansion
, 19/20 Gramercy Park South

• Salvation Army’s Parkside Evangeline Residence
,18 Gramercy Park South
The Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South                                 

• Calvary Church Restoration, 61 Gramercy Park North

Neighbors Helping Neighbors: GPBA’s Community Service Projects



Room to Grow clothing drive – For low-income family infants receiving critical care

St. George's Common Table pantry drive - Weekly hot lunch for people in need

Kenmore Hall supportive housing - Low-income, formerly homeless, veterans, people with HIV/AIDS, chronically ill, disabled, frail elderly; provide veteran's luncheons, holiday dinners, pantry and clothing drives, welcome home kits

Project LIFT - Scholarships, mentoring, medical care, clothing, educational supplies for homeless/at-risk children living in city shelters

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity - Free eight-year rigorous academic program for underserved public high school students

Epiphany Church Adopt a Family - Family violence prevention, emergency shelter for women and children, housing for formerly homeless

Neighborhood Music Program - Community and children from local schools attend program bringing culture and community to a diverse population, including those in need

Paddy Maguire/GPBA Dinner and Toy Drive - For children in need

Nazareth Housing - Homelessness prevention, emergency family shelter, urgent needs assistance, supportive housing

STEPS to end Family Violence - Support services for survivors of gender-based violence, other trauma

Fox House - Shelter women and children

Back to School Backpack Drive - Educational supplies shelter children

NYPD/GPBA National Night Out Against Crime - Promoting police-community partnership

GPBA Annual Event - Paying tribute to NYPD who lost lives and honoring their families

NYPD/GPBA World Trade Center - Remembrance ceremony & breakfast

NYPD 13th Precinct Remembrance Garden - GPBA year-round planting plaque reads "NYPD YOU MAKE US PROUD"

NYPD ESU Truck #1 - Thanksgiving Dinner

NYPD Family Holiday Parties - 13th Precinct, ESU Truck #1

• Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort - Sent hundreds of boxes of goods to disaster area. Provided funds to furnish homes built by Habitat for Humanity

• American Military Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq - Shipped hundreds of care packages

• Honor The Fallen Memorial - Supported project for local veteran to honor soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq

• Shut -In Helping Hand - Provide volunteers to support our homebound residents

• Children’s Helping Hand - Organize community service projects for our neighborhood children

• Coats for Kids - Collect neighborhood children’s coats to give to children in need

• Fundraiser for Young Neighbor with Leukemia - Organized event to help defray medical costs

• Hospitality Committee - Organized to welcome new residents into neighborhood

• Brotherhood Synagogue Homeless Shelter Program - Provide volunteers

• Edwin Gould Foundation for Children - Organized partnership of local groups to build uptown residence for young people exiting foster-care system.

Community Improvement Project -Employed homeless and low-income men and women to carry out quality-of-life initiatives in business community

• P.S. 40 Partnership - Supported rehabilitation of playground, provided educational supplies

• Scholarship Fund - Provide financial support for local student in need

• Police Officer Moira Smith Scholarship Fund - Contribute funds for scholarships for children of deceased police officers

• NYPD 13th Precinct Explorer Post 1313 - Contributed funds for uniforms and programs for teenagers interested in law enforcement careers

• 13th Precinct and Emergency Service Truck #1 Meals - Provide food for officers during holidays and emergency periods

• Explorer Post 1313 Washington D.C. Trip - Sponsored educational trip to participate in Law Enforcement Week


GPBA’s World Trade Center Projects


In the months following the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster, the GPBA organized the following:

Relief Effort - Round-the-clock effort in which area residents, merchants, restaurants, and hotels served meals, provided shelter, and distributed critical supplies to police, fire, emergency, and other support units from here and around the country

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Benefit -For families of local police officers lost at the World Trade Center

Project Health - Olive Relief - Health services for emergency personnel stationed at Ground Zero

• Prayer Vigil - Remembrance service at Calvary Church followed by candlelight procession to Brotherhood Synagogue

 • Kids Helping Kids - Nationwide effort for children to reach out to children of police officers lost on 9/11

NYPD Emergency Service Videos - Record of memories of their fellow officers who died at the World Trade Center, to be given to their families

• 13th Precinct Memorial Garden - Garden planted by schoolchildren and mantaind year round by GPBA

• NYPD You Make Us Proud - Photographic installation at 13th Precinct showing community’s relief effort and support following 9/11

• Memorial Concerts - Paying tribute to those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center

GPBA’s Community Events

World Trade Center Remembrance Service Breakfast

Walking Tour Historic Gramercy Park

Neighborhood Clean-up, Restoration, Preservation Program

13th PCT/GPBA National Night Out Against Crime

13th PCT Ceremonial, Memorial Events

13th PCT/ESU Family Holiday Parties

13th PCT - Community Breakfast

Trustees of Gramercy Park Annual Events

GPBA’s Events Committee under direct supervision of the Park trustees organizes Park events sponsored by the Trustees:
  • Palm Sunday Procession
  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Fall Event
  • Edwin Booth's Birthday
  • Chanukah Menorah Lighting
  • Christmas Eve Caroling



Under the direct supervision of the Park Trustees, GPBA manages Administrative Services, Community and Public Relations Operations and Maintenance of Gramercy Park

Read overview including:
What the Park Trust does
What the GPBA does
GPBA Services for the Park

Read about GPBA Services for the Park

Archives of Events, Projects & Activities

2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002-2001

Archives of Issues, Projects & Meetings
2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Home  |  About Us  |  Contact Us  
©2011 Gramercy Park Block Association
Become a fan of the GPBA on Facebook.