The Century Club New York – and the things they fuss over


New York’s Elite Fight About The Important Things – And, the Century Club history

The victors are quick to acknowledge that the experience has taken a toll. Inside the West 43rd Street clubhouse, amid the Renaissance-style architecture, the sting of harsh words uttered throughout the process remains fresh.

Much remains unchanged, of course: the dinning room still swells with pinstripe suits at lunchtime, vodka martinis are ordered and the beloved Century macaroons are devoured, but the mood has changed.

After recent in-fighting over whether to withdraw reciprocity agreements with a London club that only admits women when accompanied by a man to their club facilities, the Garrick.

That article is from today, Feb. 10, 2011 in the NY Times, but it could’ve been from a hundred years ago.

– cricketdiane


Not only is this a place that tourists never see, most Americans would never see the inside of this club either – nor would most New Yorkers, but I bet they should.

(my note)


An interesting note or two about the Century Club in New York –

Stanford White, architect – (of an earlier location)

He designed and decorated Fifth Avenue mansions for the Astors, the Vanderbilts (in 1905), and other high society families. His Washington Square Arch still stands in Washington Square Park, and so do many of his clubs, which were focal points of New York society: the Century, Metropolitan, Players, Lambs, Colony and Harmonie clubs. His clubhouse for the Atlantic Yacht Club, built in 1894 overlooking Gravesend Bay, burned down in 1934. Sons of society families also resided in White’s St. Anthony Hall Chapter House at Williams College (now occupied by college offices). [1][2] Pictured at: [3]


Construction of the arch

Washington Square Arch framing the Empire State Building

In 1889, to celebrate the centennial of George Washington‘s inauguration as president of the United States, a large plaster and wood Memorial Arch was erected over Fifth Avenue just north of the park. The temporary plaster and wood arch was so popular that in 1892 a permanent marble arch, designed by the New York architect Stanford White, was erected, standing 77 feet (23 m) was built just inside the park. During the excavations for the eastern leg of the arch, human remains, a coffin and a gravestone dated 1803 were uncovered 10 feet (3 m) below ground level.[4] The inscription on the arch reads:

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God. — Washington

White modeled the arch after the 1806 Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In 1918 two statues of George Washington were added to the north side.

The first fountain was completed in 1852. The fountain was replaced in 1872. The monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi was unveiled in 1888.[4]


1900        May 22, The Associated Press (founded in 1848) was incorporated in New York as a non-profit news cooperative.
(AP, 5/22/00)

Timeline for NYC from 1900 – 1949

Just noticed this and thought I would add it here, (my note)


In 1845, the club’s first clubhouse was established — a modest, Gothic-revival building in Hoboken, New Jersey, on land donated by Commodore Stevens. After the club outgrew the little building, it moved to various locations, including Staten Island, Glen Cove, New York and Mystic, Connecticut, before reaching its current Newport location on the grounds of “Harbour Court.”

Its primary clubhouse is a six-storied Beaux-Arts landmark with a nautical-themed limestone facade, located at 37 West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan. Opened in 1901, it was designed by Warren and Wetmore, architects of the exterior of Grand Central Terminal. The centerpiece of the clubhouse is the “Model Room,” which contains the world’s largest collection of full and half hull models[citation needed]. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[2][3][4]

In addition to its landlocked Manhattan headquarters, the club maintains “Harbour Court,” a clubhouse opened in 1988 on the water in Newport.


The Yacht ‘America’ Winning the International Race, 1851, Fitz Henry Lane

The New York Yacht Club was founded on July 30, 1844 by nine gentlemen. John Cox Stevens, the leader of this group, and a prominent citizen of New York with a passion for sport, was elected commodore. George L. Schuyler and Hamilton Wilkes were also NYYC founders that, together with Stevens and two others, created the syndicate that built and raced the great schooner-yacht, America. Wilkes served as the club’s first vice-commodore. Schuyler played a key role in the founding of the America’s Cup regatta, and served as its unofficial consultant until his death in 1890.

Noted Members




Century Association

The Century Association is a New York City club with a distinguished history. It evolved out an an earlier organization – the Sketch Club, founded in 1829 by editor and poet William Cullen Bryant and his friends – and was established in 1847 by Bryant and others as a club to promote interest in the fine arts and literature[3] which was open to “Artists, Literary Men, Scientists, Physicians, Officers of the Army and Navy, members of the Bench and Bar, Engineers, Clergymen, Representatives of the Press, Merchants and men of leisure.”[4] It was originally intended to have a limited membership of 100 men.[3] Its early members included Bryant, painters Asher Durand, Winslow Homer, and John Frederick Kensett, architect Stanford White, judge Charles Patrick Daly [5], author Lewis Gaylord Clark [4] and architect Calvert Vaux,[6] the co-creator with Frederick Law Olmstead of Central Park. However, by the middle 1850s, the membership primarily consisted of merchants, businessmen, lawyers and doctors.[4]

The Century possesses a notable art collection, including important works by Asher Durand, Thomas Cole, Thomas Doughty, and other Hudson River School painters. It is also an important venue for the exhibition of contemporary art created by its members.

In 1989, after a strenuous legal battle, the club began admitting women members.[7][8]



Some Avenue Clubs In The Early Days

( Originally Published 1918 )

By virtue of its descent from the Sketch and the Column, the Century Association might lay claim to seniority among the clubs of Fifth Avenue. The Sketch Club was the result of the union of the literary and artistic elements of New York, which, in 1829, were producing an annual called ” The Talisman.” Among the writers in the Sketch were Bryant, Verplanck, and Sands, and later Washington Irving and J. K. Paulding joined it. There was no regular home, the club meeting at the houses of members in turn.

For six months, during 1830, it did not exist, having been dissolved in May of that year, and reorganized in December. Thereafter, for a few years, it met in the Council Room of the National Academy of Design, and then returned to the custom of meeting at the homes of the members. That organization was the embryo Century. The Sketch Club had first taken form in 1829. Four years before that a society called the Column had been established by graduates of Columbia College. That organization, too, had a share in the moulding of the new club.

The meeting that brought the Century into being was held the evening of January 13, 1847, in the rotunda of the New York Gallery of Fine Arts in the City Hall Park. The call for the meeting had been sent out a few weeks before, the men composing the signing committee being John G. Chapman, A. B. Durand, C. C. Ingham, A. M. Cozzens, F. W. Edmonds, and H. T. Tuckerman. The original Centurions were forty-two in number, of whom twenty-five came from the Sketch, and six from the Column. There were ten artists, ten merchants, four authors, three bankers, three physicians, two clergymen, two lawyers, one editor, one diplomat, and three men of leisure. All were more or less representative men of the city, which had grown from the town of three hundred and fifty thousand of the day of the Union’s formation, to a young metropolis of six hundred thousand. Gulian C. Verplanck was the club’s first president, and back in his day began the Century’s peculiar Twelfth Night Festival, which has been continued ever since. Twelfth Night with the Centurions is distinctive in that it is not an annual event nor the event of any given year. The very uncertainty of the ceremonial has added zest to the revel, which usually ends with an old-fashioned Virginia Reel. A few years ago the reel was led by Theodore Roosevelt and the late Joseph H. Choate.


There was almost a Bostonese austerity about the great men of that early time and circle. They wore their garments as Roman Senators wore their togas. It was not good form for the stranger to break lightly into the talk of the Immortals. To have done so would have been to provoke the amazement and censure that was the lot of Mark Twain many years after, when, at a dinner in the Hub, he sought to jest irreverently with the sacred names of Holmes, Emerson, and Longfellow. Again try to fancy the shy, eccentric, improvident genius of ” Ulalume,” ” The Bells,” and ” The Fall of the House of Usher ” at ease in a company that, while delightful, was all propriety and solid intellectuality. No, Poe would no more have fitted into the Century than Balzac or Zola would have fitted into the French Academy which so persistently denied them. And, to be perfectly frank, had the writer been a Centurion of that period, and had the name of Edgar Allan Poe come up for election, he might have been one of the first to drop a black pill in the box, loudly acclaiming the genius, but deploring the impossible and unclubable personality.

(etc.) there’s more, very interesting things about it in this literature.

The first part describes how a relative ensured the membership of his kin by having fellow members place black balls in the votes for other members under consideration at the same time (it was probably for the Union Club – but it is very interesting and probably a common practice.) – my note




One Response to “The Century Club New York – and the things they fuss over”
  1. You really make it appear really easy along with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really something which I believe I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very large for me. I’m having a look forward for your next put up, I will attempt to get the hang of it!

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