Murray Hill in Manhattan | City Information
Welcome to Murray Hill bordering Gramercy Park and Midtown. Today it is still a unique residential enclave nestled in Manhattan, just south of The Grand Central Terminal and east of Penn Station. You will find the fascinating Morgan Library and Museum which continually changes their exhibits. The Murray Hill Institute is also located here and is dedicated to promoting the well-being of women in the workplace by holding seminars and encouraging a professional positive influence.
Murray Hill History - Originally the town was named Inclenburg, that is until Robert and Mary Murray moved in at the corner of what is today Pearl and Wall Street. He ran a very lucrative business at the Wharf and bought additional property from the common lands of Inclenburg. The Murray´s home was called Belmont but the residents in the area soon called the neighborhood Murray Hill. The Murray´s were indeed Quakers, but this did not stop them from having very fashionable parties with the likes of George Washington and other dignitaries. Mary Murray is noted as having persuaded the British officers to rest and have tea with herself and her beautiful daughters. This gave the Americans time to escape and later conquer the British at the Battle of Harlem Heights.
After the death of both parents by 1786 the children inherited specific lots for each. As the railroad detonated an opening through the middle of Murray Hill the grown children of the Murray´s registered with the city surveyor in 1847 a ban that became known as the Murray Hill Restriction. Simply stated the ban restricted any developer from building anything but brick or stone dwellings. No breweries or manufacturers were allowed to build on the land. This Restriction was brought up time and time again for the next 100 years.
As the 1900´s brought those that would destroy the ambiance of Murray Hill, The Murray Hill Association was established with fine upstanding and influential people such as JP Morgan, Herbert Persons, and Warren Delano although they were able to stop buildings that were strictly commercial they were not able to withstand the apartment buildings that were being constructed in nearby neighborhoods. Park Avenue and 38th street saw the first improvement of a fifteen story apartment complex. The first of its kind in Murray Hill.
Yet in the 1900´s the Murray Hill neighborhood took on a new and different look altogether. With such notables as JP Morgan (whose father had bought both for himself and his son in Murray Hill) as well as other financiers, magnificent commercial buildings were the talk of the town. Proprietors such as Tiffany´s, Bergdorf Goodman, and W & J Sloane were establishing their names in the history books in Murray Hill.
Early in the 1960´s the Murray Hill Association was again asked to preserve the town and keep all kinds of developers out. These included actions to widen streets and tear down front walkways and stoops from the beautiful brownstones. As well as destroying tenement homes to build high rises.The Murray Hill Association can be credited with their tireless efforts to include Murray Hill into the State and National Registers of Historic Sites. When you stand on the hill and look across you can see the high rises of New York.But walking the streets of Murray Hill you would think you were still back 100 years ago.Out of the 100 residences that stood back then, 60 of them still stand today.