Union Club of the City of New York

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Union Club of the City of New York
UnionClub-logo.jpg
Formation 1836 (1836)
Type Gentlemen's Club
Headquarters 101 East 69th Street
Location
Coordinates 40°46′09″N 73°57′53″W / 40.7691°N 73.9647°W / 40.7691; -73.9647Coordinates: 40°46′09″N 73°57′53″W / 40.7691°N 73.9647°W / 40.7691; -73.9647
Region served New York metropolitan area
Website theunionclub.com
Union Club of the City of New York on Park Avenue
Union Club entrance

The Union Club of the City of New York (commonly referred to as the Union Club) is a private social club in New York City, founded in 1836. It is located at East 69th Street and Park Avenue in a landmark building designed by Delano & Aldrich that opened on August 28, 1933. The Union Club is the oldest private club in New York City and the third oldest in the United States,[1] after The Old Colony Club, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which was founded in 1769,[2] and the Philadelphia Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was founded in 1834.

Clubhouse[edit]

The current building is the club's sixth clubhouse and the third built specifically for the members. The prior two clubhouses were at Fifth Avenue and 21st Street, occupied from 1855 to 1903; and on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, a limestone clubhouse occupied from 1903 to 1933.

In 1927, club members voted to move uptown, to a quieter and less crowded location.[3] They hired architects William Adams Delano and Chester Holmes Aldrich — who had previously designed buildings for the Knickerbocker Club, the Brook Club, and the Colony Club — to design their new clubhouse.[4] The Union moved to its current location in 1933. The building is known for its opulence and idiosyncratic details. At one point the building featured five dining rooms and a humidor with 100,000 cigars.[4] Notable rooms include the card room, the backgammon room, the library, and the lounge (off the squash courts).[4]

History[edit]

From the beginning, the Union Club was known for its strongly conservative principles. In fact, even during the Civil War, the Union refused to expel its Confederate members. This policy, and a belief that The Union's admission standards had fallen, led some members of the Union to leave and form other private clubs (including the Union League Club of New York and The Knickerbocker Club).[4]

In 1903 The Brook was founded by some prominent members of the Union Club (as well as some members of other New York City private clubs, such as the Knickerbocker Club and Metropolitan Club).[5]

In 1918, The Union began using women as waitresses, in order to free male employees for service related to World War I.[1] This was the first time women were officially allowed entrance to the previously male-only enclave.

In 1932, the Union Club boasted 1,300 members.[4] By the 1950s, however, urban social club membership was dwindling, in large part because of the movement of wealthy families to the suburbs. In 1954, Union Club membership had declined to 950 members. In 1959, the Union Club and the Knickerbocker Club considered merging the Union's 900 men with The Knick's 550 members, but the plan never came to fruition.[4]

The Union Club is one of the few places where the game of bottle pool is still popular.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]

Media related to Union Club of the City of New York at Wikimedia Commons

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Waitresses at Union Club", The New York Times (June 19, 1918)
  2. ^ Old Colony Club website
  3. ^ Pennoyer, Peter and Walker, Anne. The Architecture of Delano & Aldrich (W.W. Norton, 2003).
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gray, Christopher. "Inside the Union Club, Jaws Drop," New York Times (Feb. 11, 2007).
  5. ^ "New Club is Launched," The New York Times (April 2, 1903).
  6. ^ Hurt III, Harry. "Executive Pursuits; Billiards With a Bottle. And This Game Is Dying?," New York Times (Aug. 26, 2006).
  7. ^ Men of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporaries, edited by John William Leonard, New York: L.R. Hamersly, 1908, p. 424.

External links[edit]