2006_06_25_century.jpg

There's yet another interesting bit in this weeks City section FYI column, this time on one of our fair city's old school private clubs, the Century Association. Housed in a land-marked 1891 McKim Mead & White Beaux Arts building on W. 43rd street the association (also called the Century Club) was "originally an arts and letters society founded in 1847." The invitation-only club admitted its first female members in 1988 and currently has around 2,4000 members "many from New York's cultural, professional and political worlds. The 2005 membership directory included Mayor Bloomberg, Brooke Astor, Ric Burns, Robert A. Caro, Chuck Close, Betsy Gotbaum, Henry Kissinger, Robert Morgenthau, David Rockefeller, Andy Rooney and Arthur Schlesinger Jr." Former members include Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Unlike some of the other private clubs in the city (*cough* SoHo House*cough*), the Century seems to purposely seek out a low profile. Where as it is pretty hard to miss the University Club which was also designed by McKim Mead & White, one of the charms of the Century is how elegantly it lets itself stay hidden in plain site. It's beautiful building, with Times Square to one side and Grand Central to the other, just seems to blend right into the street unless you are looking for it - in which case you can't miss it.

Reading about the Century made us wonder what other private clubs are lurking quietly around Gotham. Here's one list we found of Private Clubs in New York but we're sure it is missing a number of them. Are there any clubs you've always wondered about? We've always been curious about the Kinckerbocker Club...

Photo of the Century exterior from NYC-Archtecture.