Gramercy Park, view on hotel (foto
Gramercy Park, 2 Lexington Avenue, New York (foto Icon Magazine)
52 Gramercy Park North, East 21st Street & Surroundings (foto IMDb)


There hasn’t been much action at the Gramercy Park Hotel this year. The posh crash pad owned by mega collector Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding usually plays host to art and fashion bashes at Maialino while bad revellers clink cocktails under massive Damien Hirst spot paintings at Rose Bar. Perhaps more than any of his properties, Rosen has treated the Gramercy as something of a private museum. Cy Twombly in the lobby, David Salle in the suites, Andy Warhol portraits in the hallways.

Aby Rosen attends Marc Jacobs After Party at Gramercy Park Hotel on September 11, 2006 (foto Patrick McMullan)

This year it’s been crickets at the Gramercy. When the lockdown began, sources reported that the grand hotel – where every guest gets coveted access to the eponymous residents only park – had occupancy in the “single digits.” The hotel stopped taking clientele soon after the March shutdown, and planned for a reopening when vaccinations let the fashion forward get back on that diet of gallery shindigs in fancy hotels.

Gramercy Park Hotel lobby (foto Marianna Massey|Corbis)

Now, it appears that the hotel’s closure is about to become way more permanent. A notice pasted to the door indicates that Rosen’s company owes nearly $ 900,000 in unpaid rent. RFR owns the hotel, but in a rare, only in New York real estate twist, the dirt underneath the structure is owned by someone else. To keep the property, Rosen pays $ 5.3 million per year to the Estate of Sol Goldman, the late acreage kingpin of Gotham who at one point owned nearly 1,900 separate parcels of this former Lenape island.

Gramercy Park Hotel (foto Marianna Massey|Corbis)

But RFR has not paid for November and December, and management has had enough. According to a document obtained by Wet Paint, if Rosen doesn’t fork over the cash by December 28, the hotel and its accompanying boîtes all get the boot. The 14 day notice demanding $ 879,666.66 is dated December 2 and is addressed to a corporation with the same address as the RFR offices. The document is signed by Louisa Little, an administrator at Solil Management, the company that represents Sol Goldman’s Estate.

Guests attend the Rose Bar NYFW Kickoff Party at Gramercy Park Hotel (foto Sean Zanni)

If Rosen refuses to pay up, it will mark the end of an era for the consummate art world hotel. In the 1990s, it was the first host of the Gramercy International Art Fair, which went on to become The Armory Show. The spot was then bought by Ian Schrager, who convinced Julian Schnabel to design the interiors, his first public decorating commission.

Aby Rosen and Ian Schrager attends a cocktail reception among the latest works of art at Gramercy Park Hotel (foto Brian Ach | WireImage)

After Schrager sold it to Rosen in 2010, it remained for a decade an easy choice for power gatherings. On a May night in 2011, according to an old Artforum “Scene & Herd” column, the single terrace played host to both a Metro Pictures dinner for Louise Lawler and an Andrew Kreps dinner for Roe Ethridge, while the whole place was festooned with Aby’s George Condos.

Little did not respond to an email requesting comment. RFR declined to comment. Rosen could not be reached.

Artnet NEWS, December 18, 2020

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