Gramercy Park Block Association - Neighborhood News #344
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Thursday, April 12, 2013 

The Gramercy Park Block Association celebrates return to National Arts Club 


Photo By Lauren Slusher
NAC House Committee Chair and Governor Dr. Eugene Weise, GPBA President and Park Trustee Arlene Harrison, NAC President Dianne Bernhard, and GPBA Vice President and NAC First Vice President Rev. Tom Pike 

Click here to view a slideshow of the event


By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The National Arts Club welcomed members of the Gramercy Park Block Association for the organization's gala cocktail party last Thursday in what GPBA President Arlene Harrison called a "historic return" to the club for the Gramercy Park community.


"The only reason we're back there is that (club president) Dianne Bernhard reached out to mend fences," Harrison said on Tuesday. "With new leadership there, we thought it was time to come back. We've been waiting for this for 20 years."


Reverend Tom Pike, who is expected to succeed Bernhard as the president of the club in May, echoed this sentiment while speaking to attendees at the gathering.


"There used to be an atmosphere of tension in this neighborhood but right behind the good atmosphere now is Dianne and we treasure it so much," Pike said. "What Dianne has done tonight is forge the beginning of a strong important bridge between the club and the Gramercy Park community."


The club had a contentious relationship for years with both the Park Trust and the GPBA during the adminsitration of NAC's former president, O. Aldon James, but both Pike and Bernhard said the community has been grateful that Harrison has played an important role in repairing the relationship.


"During all the years when the Park Trust was being threatened, it was Arlene who led our community members in successfully protecting the park's integrity," Pike said. "What you may not know about Arlene is that her work for years in protecting the park established her reputation throughout the city as an important preservationist."


Harrison co-hosted the event with Bernhard to mark the occasion, and Pike led tours of the historic club along with preservationist Eugene Weise, who also spoke briefly about the history of the building itself, the Samuel Tilden mansion.


Photo by Sean Brady
Renowned Preservationist Dr. Eugene Weise gives a talk about the Tilden Mansion to GPBA members.  

Photo by Lauren Slusher
Michael Rockefeller, GPBA Vice President Tara Rockeller, Arlene Harrison, and Rev. Tom Pike

Photo by Lauren Slusher
Gramercy Park Trustee and recently appointed NAC Governor Arthur Barnes with Rev. Tom Pike

Photo by Lauren Slusher
The hero of Gramercy Park - NAC front desk staff Miguel Serrano

Photo by Lauren Slusher
The ladies of Gramercy Park - Shyama Patel, Audrey Meyer and Wendy Ettinger
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