New York City is known for its strict door policies and nearly impossible to enter clubs, but there’s a whole echelon of elite places that take it to a whole new level.We’re talking about the ones you might not even realise you’re not allowed to enter.
Behind nondescript walls these places — some for more than a century, some only for decades — are the hot spots for New York City power players. It’s here that old money and new wealth come to mingle, talk business, play, and network.
Waiting lists are long, fees are steep, elitism is de rigueur, and sport coats are usually still required.
Norwood opened its members-only doors in 2007 at 241 West 14th Street, with a supposed annual membership fee of around $1,000, and annual dues of $750. Joining this place is not so much about how much money you can dish out (fees are low relative to other clubs in the city), but more who you are and who you know. 'It's limited to creative types' who are recommended from the inside, says one member. Norwood has a restaurant, three lounge bars, a 45-seat screening room and event space, as well as a private dining room for up to 24 people. And a walled garden.
The Yale Club is a private spot at 44th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, for alumni and faculty of the Connecticut-based university. The 22-story clubhouse is the largest in the world. Though membership is restricted to alumni, faculty, and full-time graduate students, the club also offers legacy admission to Yale-affiliated members' children and grandchildren. With over 11,000 members worldwide, this place is a serious networking epicentre.
Membership at the Core Club, five floors in a nondescript building at 66 East 55th Street, is pretty exclusive and will set you back around $60,000 for the initiation fee. After that it's about $20,000 annually. This is all once you've been invited, that is. The Core Club was started in 2005 by Jennie Saunders, with over 100 founding members putting in $100,000 each. These included venture capitalist Vivi Nevo, Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman, and developer Aby Rosen and his wife, Samantha Boardman. Members have included Harvey Weinstein, William Lauder, Ron Burkle, Bill Clinton, and fashion designer Tory Burch, according to Page Six Magazine.
Membership at the exclusive Soho house in the Meatpacking district runs from $900 to $2,400 annually. The club is home to a 24-room hotel, and private events rooms such as the screening room, the library, spa rooms, and the dining room. The roof has a large pool with views of the West Village. The applicants are accepted, rejected, or left in waiting-list purgatory based on a committee decision. Some famous VIPs have included Nicole Kidman, Graydon Carter, Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman, and Robert DeNiro.
The London transplant just opened its second U.S. location in LA in April 2010.
This is the members-only NYC home base for the Harvard elite to rub elbows and network. Anyone who has attended the university may apply to become a member. According to the club website, 'once you have submitted your application, you are required to Interview with Admissions Committee Members.' New York City is the largest base for Harvard alum and they make sure to keep in touch via frequent visits to this iconic clubhouse at 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.
The Metropolitan Club, at 60th Street and 5th Avenue, was started in 1891 by J.P. Morgan, as a protest against the exclusive clubs that would not allow one of his friends to join. Annual membership is said to cost $5,000, and members have included Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Salman Rushdie. Though the club was rare in allowing access to women, the ladies were relegated to a special annex until the 1940s. Formal dress (jackets and ties) is required to this day.
The second oldest club in New York, the Union Club was founded in 1836 and has held its prominent spot at 69th St. and Park Avenue since then. Like the Metropolitan, annual fees are set at $5,000, though this place keeps to a no-girls-allowed policy for its members. Those have included Dwight Eisenhower, Ulysses Grant, William Randolph Hearst, John Jacob Astor IV, and Harold Vanderbilt.
The Colony Club is a women-only club located at Park Avenue and 62nd Street. It was founded in 1903 and members have included numerous Whitneys, Morgans, and Astors. The fee to join in 1903 was $150 with $100 annual dues, but again, then as now it was more about who you were in society rather than how much you had.
New members looking to get in must be recommended by current members, but once you get in, the Colony is known for its lush interior design, pool, and sulfur and mud baths. In recent times memorial services for two top New York Society ladies -- Brooke Astor and Nan Kempner -- were held at the Colony Club.
The Century Association, located at 43rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, was founded as an upscale hangout spot for artists and writers in 1847 by newspaper editor William Cullen Bryant. Its past members have included Winslow Homer and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in recent years, Mayor Bloomberg, Tina Brown, Brooke Astor, Robert Caro, Henry Kissinger, Robert Morgenthau, David Rockefeller, Andy Rooney and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
Women were first admitted to join in 1988, and have included Jackie Onassis and Toni Morrison. The Century works hard to keep a low profile and has a reported annual fee of around $2,000. According to its website, in addition to known personalities the club admits amateurs, 'defined as men and women 'of any occupation provided their breath of interest and qualities of mind and imagination make them sympathetic, stimulating, and congenial companions in a society of authors and artists'.'
Almost makes it sound easy to get in. Almost.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.