The Yale Club of New York City

Coordinates: 40°45′14″N 73°58′39″W / 40.75389°N 73.97750°W / 40.75389; -73.97750
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The Yale Club of New York City
Established1897; 127 years ago (1897)
TypePrivate club for Yale alumni and faculty
Coordinates40°45′14″N 73°58′39″W / 40.75389°N 73.97750°W / 40.75389; -73.97750

The Yale Club of New York City, commonly called The Yale Club, is a private club in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Its membership is restricted almost entirely to alumni and faculty of Yale University. The Yale Club has a worldwide membership of over 11,000. The 22-story clubhouse at 50 Vanderbilt Avenue, opened in 1915, was the world's largest clubhouse upon its completion and is still the largest college clubhouse ever built.[1]


Yale Club logo
The Yale Club's main entrance on Vanderbilt Avenue

The club is located at 50 Vanderbilt Avenue, at the intersection of East 44th Street,[2] across Vanderbilt Avenue from Grand Central Terminal and the MetLife Building.

After the Penn Club of New York (est. 1901) became the first alumni clubhouse to join Clubhouse Row for inter-club events at 30 West 44th Street[3] after Harvard Club of New York City (est. 1888) at 27 West 44th, then New York Yacht Club (est. 1899) at 37 West 44th, and Yale Club of New York City (est. 1915) on East 44th (and Vanderbilt) and Cornell Club of New York (est. 1989) at 6 East 44th on the same block, with Princeton Club of New York joining in 1963 at 15 West 43rd (the only alumni clubhouse who wasn't on 44th Street, whose members, part of the staff, and in-residence club, Williams College Club of New York, were absorbed into Penn Club following a previous visiting reciprocity agreement between the Princeton-Penn Clubs, before Princeton's went out of business during COVID).[4][5] Despite being in New York City, Columbia University Club of New York (est. 1901) left Princeton after residence agreement issues[6][7] to become in-residence at The Penn Club, while Dartmouth shares the Yale Club, and Brown shares the Cornell Club.

The Yale Club shares its facility with the similar Dartmouth and University of Virginia club (Columbia University shares a clubhouse with the Penn Club, while Brown shares the Cornell Club).[8] The neighborhood is also home to the University Club of New York,[8] and the flagship stores of J. Press and Paul Stuart, which traditionally catered to the club set.[9] The building is a New York City-designated landmark.[10]

The 22-story clubhouse contains three dining spaces (the "Tap Room," the "Grill Room," and the Roof Dining Room and Terrace), four bars (in the Tap Room, Grill Room, Main Lounge, and on the Roof Terrace), banquet rooms for up to 500 people (including the 20th-floor Grand Ballroom), 138 guest rooms, a library, a fitness and squash center with three international squash courts and a swimming pool, and a barber shop, among other amenities. The heart of the clubhouse is the main lounge, a large room with a high, ornate ceiling and large columns and walls lined with fireplaces and portraits of the five Yale-educated United States presidents, all of whom are or were members of the Yale Club: William Howard Taft, Gerald R. Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.[11] Outside the lounge above the main staircase hangs a posthumous portrait of Elihu Yale by Francis Edwin Elwell and a portrait of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.


Early history[edit]

The Yale Club was created in 1897 by the Old Yale Alumni Association of New York, a 29-year-old organization that wanted a permanent clubhouse. One of the incorporators was Senator Chauncey Depew, whose 1890 portrait by the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury hangs in the building. The first president of the Yale Club was attorney Thomas Thacher, founder of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The first clubhouse was a rented brownstone at 17 East 26th Street. In 1901, the club built a 12-story clubhouse at 30 West 44th Street, which today is home to the Penn Club of New York.[8]

Yale Club plaque of patriot Nathan Hale, a spy during the Revolutionary War

The current clubhouse opened in June 1915. Designed by architect and Yale alumnus James Gamble Rogers in conjunction with the construction of Grand Central Terminal,[2] it was largely paid for by money raised or contributed by President George C. Ide of Brooklyn (whose portrait by George Burroughs Torrey hangs in the building). Its location was chosen because it was believed to be where Yale alumnus Nathan Hale was hanged by the British Army for espionage during the American Revolution,[12] although the site of Hale's execution has more recently been disputed.[12]

The Ken Burns documentary Prohibition said the Yale Club stocked sufficient liquor to see the club through the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

21st century[edit]

Heisman Trophy which was awarded to USC Trojans quarterback Carson Palmer at the Yale Club in 2002.

In July 1999, the Yale Club became the first of New York's Ivy League university clubs to change its dress code to business casual, a move that upset some members and was received with polite scorn from other clubs.[13] Today, the dress code remains business casual, except in the athletic facilities. In the fall of 2012, the club began to allow denim to be worn in the library, the Grill Room, and on the rooftop terrace during the summer, but nowhere else, as long as it is "neat, clean, and in good repair."[14]

Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Heisman Trophy, traditionally presented at the Downtown Athletic Club, was presented at the Yale Club in 2002 and 2003.[15][16] The 2002 winner was quarterback Carson Palmer of the USC Trojans, and the 2003 winner was quarterback Jason White of the University of Oklahoma Sooners. Before the two Heisman Trophy ceremonies, the un-awarded trophy itself was displayed in the Yale Club's lobby, flanked by portraits of Yale's two Heisman winners, end Larry Kelley (1936) and halfback Clint Frank (1937).

In June 2007, former United States Solicitor General and onetime Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork sued the club in federal court. Bork alleged that, while trying to reach the dais to speak at an event for The New Criterion magazine, he fell because the club negligently failed to provide steps or a handrail between the floor and the dais.[17] Bork claimed that his injuries required surgery, immobilized him for months, forced him to use a cane, and left him with a limp. He sought judgment for $1 million in damages plus punitive damages and attorney's fees.[18] In May 2008, Bork and the club reached a confidential, out-of-court settlement.[19]


Yale Club in 1914

To be eligible for membership, a candidate must be an alumnus/alumna, faculty member, full-time graduate student of Yale University, or a child of one. The club sends out a monthly newsletter to members.

Yale College did not allow women to become members until 1969.[20] Wives of members had to enter the club through a separate entrance (today the service entrance), and were not allowed to have access to much of the clubhouse.[21] Once Yale opened to women, however, the club quickly followed suit on July 30, 1969,[21] although the club did not open its bar, dining room, or athletic facilities to women until 1974[22] and did not open its swimming pool (known as "the plunge") to women until 1987.[23] Now, women constitute a large percentage of the club's membership.

Three other, smaller clubs also are in residence at the Yale Club: the Dartmouth Club, the Virginia Club, and the Delta Kappa Epsilon Club. Members of these other clubs have the same access to the clubhouse and its facilities as members of the Yale Club itself.

According to a book published for the club's 1997 centennial, members at that time included George H. W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, John Kerry and George Pataki. Among others were architect Cesar Pelli and author David McCullough. Today, the Yale Club has over 11,000 members worldwide.

In 1972, Frank Mankiewicz famously described John Lindsay as "the only populist in history who plays squash at the Yale Club."[24]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "The Yale Club of New York City History | New York City Clubhouse, NY - Yale Club of New York".
  2. ^ a b Mooney, James E. (1995). "Yale Club". In Kenneth T. Jackson (ed.). The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, CT & London & New York: Yale University Press & The New-York Historical Society. p. 1280.
  3. ^ Slatin, Peter (May 9, 1993). "Penn's Racing to Join Clubhouse Row". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  4. ^ Chao, Eveline (January 7, 2022). "It Wasn't Just the Pandemic That Closed the Princeton Club". Curbed. Archived from the original on November 3, 2022. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  5. ^ "Williams Club in New York moves to Penn Club building".
  6. ^ "The Columbia Club's New Home". Columbia College Today. July 5, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  7. ^ Skelding, Conor (August 4, 2016). "Columbia, Princeton clubs at impasse over residence agreement". Politico. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Gray, Christopher (July 9, 1989). "The Old Yale Club; Make Way for the Blue and Gold". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  9. ^ "The Season; Tickling the Ivy," The New York Times, September 19, 2004
  10. ^ "Yale Club of New York City" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. November 22, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  11. ^ Cruice, Valerie (November 9, 2003). "The Painter And the President". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  12. ^ a b Barron, James (January 19, 1995). "Yale Club Had but One Hale to Lose". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  13. ^ Collins, Glenn (August 20, 1999). "Eli Chic or Boola Boorish?; Moral Crisis: Yale Club Goes Casual on Fridays". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Bass, Carole (August 27, 2012). "At Yale Club of NYC, Yale blue now includes denim — sometimes". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  15. ^ Szulszteyn, Andrea (December 15, 2002). "68th Heisman Trophy Winner: Carson Palmer's 233-point margin as improbable as his selection". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011.
  16. ^ Okla. QB Jason White Wins Heisman Trophy
  17. ^ Mytelka, Andrew (June 7, 2007). "Robert Bork Cites 'Wanton' Negligence in Suing Yale Club for $1-Million". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  18. ^ Complaint (June 6, 2007). Robert H. Bork v. The Yale Club of New York City, Docket No. 07 Civ. 4826 (PDF). Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  19. ^ Zambito, Thomas (May 10, 2008). "Supreme Nominee Bork Settles Yale Suit". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  20. ^ Bahrampour, Tara (November 5, 2000). "High and Dry At the Yale Club?". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  21. ^ a b "Vote of 35-to-15 Lets Women Join 6,000-Member Yale Club". The New York Times. July 31, 1969. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  22. ^ "Women's Privileges Widened at Yale Club". The New York Times. June 15, 1974. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  23. ^ Sims, Calvin (October 7, 1987). "Yale Club Lets Women Take 'the Plunge'". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  24. ^ "Front and Center for George McGovern". Time Magazine. May 8, 1972. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2009.

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