Simply looking down this street from either 3rd Ave or Park Ave you wouldn't have much inclination as to what fanciness lied within. Walking down the block you'll pass what is arguably some of the highest-priced real estate in the city (next to Sutton Place and a few other parts of town). The private park that comes into view about one-quarter of the way in is flanked on both sides by streets that allow from a continuous flow of traffic from Irving Place to Lexington Avenue.
A venerable oasis in the middle of what is already a very quiet and serene neighborhood, the mystique that surrounds Gramercy Park involves little more than whispers about people with too much money. The only ones with access to the park are residents and guests of the buildings which surround the immediate area. Supposedly the locks are changed every year, so even people who once lived here don't have a way in. It's understandable that they'd want to defend such a unique fringe benefit, but considering they don't even open the park to the public for Gramercy Day anymore, it's starting to feel a bit greedy.
The actual buildings along this stretch are quite beautiful (the area is designated as a historic district) and each have their own sort of character. The National Arts Club (which sits right near the women's dormitory for The School of Visual Arts) has a particularly interesting (if not a little garish) facade. As you approach Park Avenue, the noise and crowds of the busy street immediately jolt you back to reality.