New York Athletic Club
TypeTraditional gentlemen's club
FoundedSeptember 8, 1868 (1868-09-08)
Founder(s)John C. Babcock
Harry Buermeyer
William Buckingham Curtis
HeadquartersNew York, United States

The New York Athletic Club is a private social club and athletic club in New York City. It was founded in 1868 and has approximately 8,600 members. The club has two facilities, the City House, located at 180 Central Park South, and Travers Island, the summer home, located in Westchester County.

History[edit | edit source]

The NYAC can be considered the foundation for amateur athletics in the United States by establishing the definition of an amateur. It was the first organization to compile and apply a code of rules for the government of athletic meetings, the first to offer prizes for open amateur games, and the first to hold an amateur championship.[1]

In 1866, William Buckingham Curtis, Harry Buermeyer, and John C. Babcock opened a gymnasium on the corner of 6th Avenue and 14th Street in their New York City apartment, after discussing the rapid rise of organized athletics in England.[2] Interest in their gym grew rapidly, and the three men decided to found the New York Athletic Club on September 8, 1868. Their goal was to sponsor athletic competitions in the New York area and to keep official records for different sports. In the beginning there was no initiation fee, but $10 was required for the first six months of dues.[3]

NYAC members have won more than 230 Olympic medals. Of those, more than 120 have been gold. Presently, the NYAC has top-ranked competitors in wrestling, judo, rowing, fencing, water polo and track and field, among other sports. Forty NYAC members competed for three countries at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, winning 16 medals.

Through at least the 1960s, the NYAC had membership restrictions against blacks and Jews. In 1962, New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. quit the NYAC over charges that it barred blacks and Jews.[4][5][6][7]

Facilities[edit | edit source]

File:NYAC Clubhouse Travers Island.jpg

Travers Island clubhouse

The club operates two facilities, one in New York City and the other on Travers Island which straddles the border of New Rochelle and Pelham Manor, New York.[8]

The City House, located at 180 Central Park South, occupies one of the finest locations in the city. A large, cavernous building built in the early twentieth century, it offers panoramic views of Central Park and is the athletic as well as the social hub of the club. The architect was Charles W. Clinton. The 24-floor facility includes two restaurants, a cocktail lounge, library, ballroom, billiard room, meeting rooms, and eight floors of guest rooms for members and club guests. The athletic training floors include a swimming pool, basketball courts, boxing rings, a fencing and wrestling room, judo floor, and squash courts.

Named for Wall Street businessman William R. Travers, who arranged for its purchase in 1886, Travers Island is the NYAC's summer home on Long Island Sound. The island is located in New Rochelle's Lower Harbor and is situated between Neptune Island, Glen Island and Hunter Island in New York City's Pelham Bay Park.[8] It consists of the main house and other buildings and facilities that sit on 30 acres (120,000 m2) of handsomely landscaped grounds. Centered around the Main House, the Olympic-sized salt water pool and accompanying cabanas, Travers Island extends the range of NYAC sports to include tennis, rowing, yachting, outdoor swimming and diving, a children's day camp, rugby, soccer, croquet and lacrosse.[8]

The club offers many sports, including rowing, wrestling, boxing, judo, fencing, basketball, rugby union, soccer, tennis, handball, squash, snooker, lacrosse and at least a dozen others.

Geographic location[edit | edit source]

The New York Athletic Club on Travers Island is located at <span class="geo-dms" title="Maps, aerial photos, and other data for Template:Coord/dec2dms/dExpression error: Unexpected >= operator. Template:Coord/dec2dms/dExpression error: Unexpected >= operator.">Template:Coord/dec2dms/dExpression error: Unexpected >= operator. Template:Coord/dec2dms/dExpression error: Unexpected >= operator. / , .[9]

Mercury Cup series[edit | edit source]

File:NYAC 2162894593 d69ff151fa o.jpg

NYAC crew in 1911

The NYAC's Mercury Cup series is the premier regional fencing event in North America. The series includes a number of épée and sabre tournaments, ending each season with the famous "Epeepalooza" and "Sabrage" events. Competitors earn points based on final placements at each tournament, with the champion being the highest ranked fencer at the conclusion of the season.

The Mercury Cup has proven successful due to the club's prestige, corporate sponsorship, and the event's extraordinarily high-level of competition.

Mercury Cup champions

Season Épée Sabre
2005–2006 Alexander Abend
2006–2007 Alexander Abend
2007–2008 Alexander Abend Sergey Isayenko
2008–2009 Jon Normile Ben Igoe

Individual event champions

2005–2006 Épée series
Mercury Cup #1: Noah Zucker
Mercury Cup #2: Alexander Abend
Mercury Cup #3: Alexander Abend
Mercury Cup #4: Mykhaylo Mokretsov
Mercury Cup #5: Alexander Abend
Mercury Cup #6: Alex Tsinis

2006–2007 Épée series
Mercury Cup #1: Alexander Abend
Mercury Cup #2: Alexander Abend
Mercury Cup #3: Soren Thompson
Mercury Cup #4: Alexander Abend
Mercury Cup #5: Brendan Baby
Mercury Cup #6: Tommi Hurme

2007–2008 Épée series
Mercury Cup #1: Alexander Abend
Mercury Cup #2: Bas Verwijlen
Mercury Cup #3: Tommi Hurme
Mercury Cup #4: Jon Normile
Mercury Cup #5: Jon Normile

2008–2009 Épée series
Mercury Cup #1: Alex Tsinis
Mercury Cup #2: Jon Normile
Mercury Cup #3: Jon Normile

2007–2008 Sabre series
Mercury Cup #1: Sergey Isayenko
Mercury Cup #2: Ben Igoe
Mercury Cup #3: Sergey Isayenko

2008–2009 Sabre series
Mercury Cup #1: Ben Igoe
Mercury Cup #2: Ben Igoe
Mercury Cup #3: Daryl Homer

Other notable events[edit | edit source]

In November 2003, the club was the site of a four game chess match between Garry Kasparov and the computer program X3D Fritz. In November 2005, the Saturday morning children's program run by the club gathered nearly $17,000 dollars for the Ronald McDonald House run, an event in which the program has participated for several years.[citation needed]

Teams[edit | edit source]

The NYAC currently fields 22 different teams for the following sports:[10]

  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cycling
  • Fencing
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Judo
  • Lacrosse
  • Platform Tennis
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Running
  • Soccer (Men's, Women's)
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Team Handball
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Triathlon
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

Presidents[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. New York Athletic Club Journal, February 1905, Page 18
  2. "A history of American amateur athletics and aquatics" by Frederick W. Janssen (1888), page 124
  3. Outing Volume IV Issue 6 September 1884
  4. Jeremy Schaap (2007). Triumph: the untold story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  5. Hunt, Richard P. (February 10, 1962). "MAYOR QUITS CLUB OVER BIAS CHARGE – He Notes Allegations That the New York A.C. Bars Negroes and Jews Accused by 2 Groups Wagner Quits New York A.C. After Hearing Charge of Bias Rules on Entry Attorney General Quit – Front Page". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  6. ".". Toledo Blade. February 10, 1962.,4925049&dq=jews+new-york-athletic-club&hl=en. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  7. ".". Point Pleasant Register. February 15, 1989.,2169935&dq=jews+new-york-athletic-club&hl=en. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Travers Island". New York Times. June 9, 1889. Retrieved December 31, 2010. "The now Summer home of the New-York Athletic Club on Travers Island, near Pelham Manor, on the Sound, was opened yesterday for inspection by the members and their friends. The building, designed by Douglas Smythe, is a handsome structure of wood in the prevailing..."
  9. "New York Athletic Club". United States Geological Survey. 1980-01-23.
  10. "The New York Athletic Club - SPORTS TEAMS". Retrieved October 27, 2011.

External links[edit | edit source]

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