West 44th Street in New York City is famous for its clubhouses, some of which have been lauded as historical landmarks. Now the Penn Club of New York will gain that special designation.
The facade of the building was recently named a historical landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Committee of New York.
In addition to this recognition, the Penn Club is also ranked among the top 10 Best City Clubs in the United States.
The 14-story Beaux-arts building includes a fitness center, 39 overnight rooms, four banquet spaces and a library. Besides being accessible to Penn alumni, the Penn Club welcomes alumni from Franklin and Marshall College, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University and the University of Richmond.
“As an architect, I think it’s a real honor to have the building designated as a landmark,” Penn Club member and associate architect at Robert A.M. Stern Architects Christopher LaSala said. “It’s a feather in the cap for both the Club and the University community.”
Representatives of the Penn Club and the University, along with New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and the Historic Districts Council, all spoke out in favor for the clubhouse being named a landmark site, according to a report published by the New York City government.
Construction of the building was completed in 1901, and it originally served as the Yale University clubhouse, changing hands several times over the years before its acquisition by the Penn Club in 1989. Penn began occupying it five years later.
The building is in a district of midtown Manhattan that developed as a row of men’s clubhouses in the late 19th century — formed along shared interests such as politics, business and sports. Today, the Penn Club’s neighbors include the Harvard Club and the New York Yacht Club.
According to the New York City government report, the Landmarks Preservation Commission dubbed the building a landmark because it “has a special character and a special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City.”
“Because of it’s age, the Landmarks Preservation Commission took an interest in the building, and here we are,” Penn Club General Manager Peter Homberg said. “I think it’s very exciting.”
The Club’s Director of Member Marketing Regina Jaslow emphasized that more alumni should support and take advantage of the clubhouse.
“It is a tremendous privilege to have a clubhouse of such historical significance,” Jaslow wrote in an e-mail. “The Club is also a significant place in which our member alumni regularly socialize, network and help our alumni community thrive.”
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