Clubhouses of the NYYC
On July 15, 1845, the New York Yacht Club opened its first clubhouse – one year after its founding. It was a one-room Gothic Revival building designed by noted architect A. J. Davis, on land owned by Commodore John Cox Stevens in Hoboken, New Jersey. Over the next half century, the Club would occupy four additional clubhouses: two in Manhattan and two on Staten Island. The Club also maintained at one time nearly a dozen stations, small buildings and landings where members and friends could rendezvous, send a letter or make a telephone call.
By the late 1890s, with the membership over one thousand, the Club required more space. Property on 44th Street in Manhattan was donated to the Club by Commodore J. Pierpont Morgan, and a competition was held for the design of the building. The result was a clubhouse in the popular Beaux-Arts style that was awash with the iconography of the sea. The new clubhouse epitomized the goal of the NYYC: to share and foster an interest in yachting and yacht racing.
The Club’s headquarters is located on 44th Street in New York City in midtown Manhattan. It is a six-story brick building with stone facing built in 1899-1900 for the club. The building houses the social, library, archives and administrative functions of the club. The street side of the building is regarded as one of the most expressive examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the country. It draws on a number of classic motifs, but its hallmark is the elaborate bay windows set into sculpted framework depicting the sterns of fancifully carved baroque sailing vessels, with garlands of seaweed and shells hanging from wave-like consoles and dolphins spewing into the overhanging wakes of the departing ships. The exterior of the 44th Street building was designated as a landmark by the City of New York Landmarks Preservation Commission on September 11, 1979.
Today, the NYYC maintains a second facility: Harbour Court, an on-the-water clubhouse in Newport, RI, designed by the Boston firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, who designed Harbour Court for Mrs. John. Nicholas Brown, the mother of NYYC Commodore John Nicholas Brown.
This clubhouse enabled the NYYC to host a variety of competitions and reaffirm the Club’s leadership role in Corinthian yacht racing. The original clubhouse, which served 23 years in Hoboken, 45 in Glen Cove as Station 10, and 50 on exhibit at Mystic Seaport, made its final voyage in 1999, to Harbour Court, where it stands as an important artifact and reminder of the Club’s origins.