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A 360-Degree Photo of Gramercy Park Grants Everyone Access to Guarded Site – Vanity Fair





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Gramercy Park is a monument to privilege, a nearly two-acre site in Manhattan that diverts everyone’s taxis and strolls but remains accessible to only residents of buildings that border it. Entrance into the park requires one of 383 closely guarded keys, but a newly posted 360-degree photo now offers anyone with an Internet connection a look inside.
Computer programmer Shawn Christopher is responsible for the digital breakdown of one of New York’s most public distinctions between the haves and the haves-less. Christopher rented an apartment via Airbnb, which came with access to a key. Guest entry into the park requires an escort by a key holder, and photography for public or commercial use is not permitted, rules Christopher told The New York Times that he was unaware of at the time. So, he simply posted an image of the park to Google Maps using Photo Sphere, a Google app for 360-degree images.
The park’s rulers, as the Times notes, have turned down filming requests by Woody Allen and Robert De Niro, making Christopher’s use of readily accessible technology quite a coup. This is really de Blasio’s New York!
What’s going to happen, now that regular people can see inside a park normally cordoned off for current key holders such as Uma Thurman and Rufus Wainwright?
Not much. The president of the Gramercy Park Block Association said she doesn’t plan on asking Google to remove the image, and, as one decidedly chill key holder told the Times, “All we do in there is sit around anyway, so a few people gawking online won’t change that.”
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