The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image.
When Gramercy Park was first laid out in the early 19th Century, it was mostly a swamp within a larger plot of farmland. Over the next century some of the most consistently expensive buildings in Manhattan would begin to pop-up. The private park – one of only two in the city, the other being Sunnyside Gardens in Queens – is small enough that you can easily see all the way across it from the outside. The park is also the raison d'être for both Lexington Avenue and Irving Place. Samuel B. Ruggles the man responsible for the park and its surrounding plots sought the creation of the new north-south avenues in order to increase accessability to the park.
Today's photo shows #3 and #4 Gramercy Park West and as seems to be the case with most of these Before & After pictures, the story of what's changed is mostly obscured by unchecked tree growth. Still, the 150+ year old buildings look to be in great shape
Photo source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS.