Who would have thought that one could find a golf club so far from a green? One of the most elite golf clubs in the world, the Links is where die-hard golf players go to eat and socialize. Charles Blair Macdonald, a golf champion and founder of the United States Golf Association, started the Links in 1917 as a place where powerful members of the golf world could keep the true spirit of the game alive. The magnificent Georgian townhouse that is home to the club was built in 1890 and features four floors and a mansard roof. There is no sign: it is only recognizable by the flags waving outside.
In 1852, six men with similar interests formed a club and called themselves "Gesellschaft, " a word that means "community and society" in German. This group would grow and solidify into the Harmonie Club, the second oldest private club in New York after the Union Club. All six of them were German Jews, and therefore were denied access to the Union Club because of religious discrimination. Much has changed since the Club's founding: at the beginning, a qualification for membership was German ancestry, and communal singing and declamatory contests were popular. Today, one must still be invited to join; however, the emphasis on musical interests has been lost. The building is also different - in 1905, the Club moved from its original 42nd Street location to its current Beaux Arts residence, complete with a grand, elegant dining room that is still in service. Despite all these changes, the Harmonie Club remains a place where the leaders and achievers of the world can find companionship. The above is the history of Harmonie; however, it is not often that I get to offer my own personal note to places of such distinction. Therefore, I must mention that I was married at the Harmonie Club in 1979. From the moment I became engaged, there was no question in my mind, that this was where I wanted my wedding to be held. My father had been a member of the club for a number of years and I had grown up having the most elaborate Sunday brunches in their exquisite dining room. My husband and I chose not to have the traditional Saturday night affair and, instead, opted for a morning wedding with a brunch motif. Having everyone we adored gathered in this private sanctuary was sheer perfection.
In 1891, a group of distinguished gentlemen gathered at the Knickerbocker Club, now on 62nd Street, and formed the Metropolitan Club. JP Morgan was their first president and the land that the club stands on was acquired from the Duchess of Marlborough. The main part of the club remained male-only until the 1940s, when women were allowed to leave their special annex and join them.
The Grolier Club was established in 1884 by printing press manufacturer Robert Hoe and his eight bibliophile companions. They named their institution after the great Renaissance book collector, Jean Grolier, and adopted the mission to promote "the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper, their art, history, production, and commerce. " To this day, the Grolier Club champions that cause and totals nearly 800 members. Though membership is by nomination only, anyone is permitted to apply for library privileges, visit exhibitions, and attend lectures. The Grolier Club Library holds over 100, 000 works centered on the topics of books, authors, printing, typography, publishing, and book collecting. It also boasts 60, 000 volumes of "bookseller and book auction catalogues. "As the former owner of a children's bookstore, imagine my enthusiasm when I learned of the show that coincided with my walk across 60th Street. Perusing "One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature" was an absolute highlight in the middle of a brisk January day. I found it fascinating to discover which books the curators chose to be their top choices. Amongst the collection of literature, I stared at Lewis Carroll's personal notated copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and an original watercolor illustration from Madeline. I would have loved to have listened to the 45 record that they had displayed behind the glass, as it was Kate Thompson, herself, reading Eloise. Of course, the classics Pat the Bunny, Good Night Moon and the Little Engine That Could were on display, as well as a first edition publication of the modern favorite Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as it is known in its country of origin. While speaking with Grolier's head of PR, she assured me that each of the exhibits that pass through the club are of this same fine quality and cover a wide range of subjects from Mao's infamous Red Book to collections of pop-up books. She encouraged me to visit the upstairs exhibit on the WWII French Occupation, Resistance, and Liberation. Naturally, I did. Ascending the steps lined with portraits of influential persons from the club's past, I found myself in the quaint, second floor gallery that houses a large selection of pieces from club members' private collections. At the end of the hall, in a warm salon with a rust orange velvet sofa and homey fireplace – the perfect reading nook for any bibliophile - I rounded the room to take in the WWII exhibit examining this turbulent period in world history. While most private clubs on the side streets of Manhattan do not allow non-members past the front door, Grolier's hospitality was completely unexpected and very much appreciated, and there is no doubt that I will return to honor the printed page.
The Leash Club has a history as an elite speakeasy. It was founded during Prohibition in 1925 as a place for dog-lovers to discuss their canine interests and the principles of breeding. Members of the club would stash alcohol in private lockers labeled with their dog's name, so that owners could sneak a sip or two while walking their dogs. The lockers still exist today, behind the fully functioning bar that has thankfully been added since Prohibition's repeal. The Club, decked out in paintings of dogs, is now affectionately known as the best place "to get your life together during a divorce. " Membership remains open only to men, though women may visit, and dogs are always welcome.
No one knows if there is a key to the door of the Animal Medical Center. The veterinary hospital has never needed one: it has been running for twenty-four hours each day ever since it opened in 1962. The history of AMC, however, runs deeper; Ellin Prince Speyer, the founder of the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, planted the seeds of the Center in 1909 when the Auxiliary established a clinic for animals whose owners were not financially able to go to existing veterinary hospitals. The Center was a success, thus allowing the organization to begin raising funds for a permanent animal care facility. This goal was seen to fruition in 1914 when a hospital opened on the Lower East Side. In 1960, construction began on the current grounds, which is now one of the few teaching veterinary hospitals in the world. Over one thousand veterinarians from around the globe have come through training at the AMC. Upon entering the eight-floor building and seeing the tiled animal mural decorating the elevators, I was met by the Center's enthusiastic public relations person, Barbara Ross. She was eager to give me a guided tour of the facilities. As she led me through the first hallway, I met Matt, sitting in his scrubs with one hand on his computer and the other holding a small dog. This was the perfect image to set the stage for my walk. The building mirrored a human hospital, but with a more relaxed atmosphere and animals of all shapes and sizes being attended to and comforted by staff members. It was a special moment for me when I stepped into Dr. Stephen Riback's dental office, where he agreed with my initial impression: "It's more like a people hospital than an animal hospital. " I was proud to watch this warm and gentle man, whom I have known my entire life, taking care of a dog that had just been through major dental surgery. Stephen explained that he had removed some teeth from the King Charles Spaniel who had periodontal disease - which causes the bone in the dog's gums to recede from the teeth. Stephen assured me that the dog would be much happier now, and that the other organs would be saved from the ailments that often follow from progressive periodontal symptoms. The dog's adorable little tongue was clamped in a permanent lolling position, and the woman assisting in the operation made sure that his open eyes were moistened while he was sedated. Stephen went on to tell me about some of the other dental operations he has handled: he has performed root canal procedures on police dogs that break their teeth during "bite" work, and he once utilized his dental expertise on a Bengal Tiger at the Bronx Zoo. As a rule, doctors from AMC do not work at the zoos, since both Central Park and the Bronx have their own medical team. Dentistry, however, is not taught at most veterinary schools, so Stephen is often called upon for his unique skills. After saying good-bye to Stephen, I stepped back into the hallway with Barbara, where she told me about a recent case of a dog who arrived on 62nd Street blind and left being able to see after the removal of its cataracts. Clearly medical miracles are performed at AMC. On the subject of blindness, Barbara mentioned that every guide dog is treated without charge. Though animals occasionally come in for general wellness visits, for the most part they are admitted for problems that regular vets cannot handle. As Barbara said, "The animals are primarily the sickest of the sick. "Continuing on, Barbara proudly pointed out the imposing CT scan and MRI machines, and commented that "some human hospitals do not own anything close to this level of equipment. " I was then shown a series of astonishing photographs of a young horse receiving a CAT scan. Following this, Barbara led me to a hybrid operating room for interventional endoscopy and radiology, which she said is the only one of its kind in the world. And, if I had not been impressed enough, I was then made aware of the hospital's underwater treadmill that aides animals with arthritis and hip dysplasia. When I looked at Barbara in amazement, she explained that staff members entice their patients with peanut butter, thereby encouraging them to swim forward to lick this treat. This allows them to participate in physical therapy. Brilliant! Barbara shared with me that there have often been times over the decades that human physicians have collaborated with veterinarians, including teaming up with Sloan Kettering where, together, they came up with the first canine vaccine for cancer. From what I witnessed, opening their medical center in the same vicinity as what is termed Hospital Row was the perfect decision back in the 1960s. And there is no doubt that these animals are treated with the same care and professional expertise as the human patients surrounding them.
The first fully certified “green” building in Lincoln Center, the atrium features lush vertical gardens with a spectacular fountain, where visitors and local residents are invited to sit and relax in a wide open space. Additionally, there are informative wall screens, a booth to purchase Lincoln Center discounted tickets, the ‘wichcraft eatery, and the starting point for guided tours of the Lincoln Center. The David Rubenstein Atrium, formerly known as the “Harmony Atrium, ” was created through a New York program that provides designated spaces for accessible public use. David Rubenstein, in whose honor the space is named, was the Vice Chairman of Lincoln Center, as well as a philanthropist and financier.
Established in 1958, the Fifth Avenue Synagogue has been home to many Jewish spiritual leaders both from New York and Israel. It was first formed as a place of worship where the values of Orthodox Judaism would take center stage while also catering to contemporary American lifestyles. The building was designed by Percival Goodman, who called himself "an agnostic who was converted by Hitler. " The synagogue is designed in the traditional Sephardic way, with a bimah and ark in a central area and separate sections for men and women.