Penn Club of New York City

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The Penn Club of New York
Private club
Founded 1901
Headquarters New York City, New York
Services Hotel, Dining, Fitness, Meetings

The Penn Club of New York (usually referred to as The Penn Club) is a private club located in Midtown Manhattan, within New York City, New York, United States. Its membership is restricted almost entirely to students, alumni, and faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its clubhouse is a fourteen-story building located on West 44th Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. Originally occupied by the Yale Club of New York City, the building is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.[1][2]


A view of the front entrance to the Penn Club of New York

In November 1886, the first local group of University of Pennsylvania alumni outside of Philadelphia was formed in New York at a dinner at Delmonico's Restaurant. At the alumni group's annual banquet at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in January, 1900, they presented a plan to secure "a convenient suite of rooms in the middle of the city, adjacent to a cafe." Thereafter, on October 6, 1900, the University of Pennsylvania's Club of New York opened in four ground-floor rooms in the Royalton Hotel, just 200 feet (61 m) west of today's clubhouse. The Penn Club soon had more than 150 members at a time when only 400 alumni lived in the New York area. The Penn Club received its charter from the New York Legislature in 1901.

In 1905, the Club moved to "new and commodious quarters" in the Hotel Stanley at 124 West 47th Street, where it remained until 1910. Between 1911 and 1922, however, the Club did away with a clubhouse, instead focusing on their annual banquet. In 1922, after a three-year search, the Club's directors leased two townhouses on East 50th Street, next to what today is the New York Palace Hotel.

Throughout the 1920s, the Penn Club on East 50th Street was active and successful. Its dining and guest rooms were regularly filled and its dinners and programs were highly attended. The Great Depression, though, quickly hit the Club hard, and it vacated its townhouses in 1935. Thereafter, it shared space in the Cornell Club on East 38th Street, moved to two other clubs, and finally settled in the Phi Gamma Delta Club on West 56th Street, where it remained until 1961, when it moved to the Biltmore Hotel. The Club stayed in the Biltmore Hotel until the hotel was gutted and made an office tower in 1981 by Paul Milstein. After two years of construction, the Club moved to its current location.


Membership in the Penn Club is restricted to alumni, faculty, full-time staff, and students over the age of 21 of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as alumni of a short list of affiliated schools, including Columbia University, Baruch College, Brandeis University, MIT, the University of Chicago, Vassar College, Gettysburg College, Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, Franklin & Marshall College, Trinity College, the University of Vermont, the University of Richmond, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of St Andrews.[3] The Club offers legacy memberships to spouses, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and siblings of University of Pennsylvania-affiliated members.

All members enjoy full use of the clubhouse facilities and its services, except for the gymnasium for which the Club outsources the operations and charges additional fees. The club includes two bars, two restaurants, five banquet/meeting rooms, 39 guestrooms, a business center, and massage and athletic facilities. The main dining room, with striking murals of historic Philadelphia, recently closed to members and is now used primarily as a for-rent banquet facility. Members may use the squash courts at the Yale Club of New York City. Members also have access to more than 150 reciprocal private clubs worldwide.

Today, the Penn Club has more than 5,000 members around the world.

The Penn Club is controlled by its members and managed by third parties, although the University of Pennsylvania owns the clubhouse building and leases it to the Club. The Club is a 501(c)7 not-for-profit entity.

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Coordinates: 40°45′19″N 73°58′51″W / 40.755159°N 73.980869°W / 40.755159; -73.980869