2. Tiro A Segno of NY, 77 Macdougal Street, tenement house
Where in NYC can you cap off an evening of bespoke Italian cuisine with a plate of biscotti and a round of target practice using the old .22 caliber rifle? The basement of the unassuming brownstone on 77 Macdougal Street is the only spot in Manhattan that provides a restaurant and a fully equipped shooting range. There are even three different profiles for target practice: bulls-eye, wild game or Osama Bin Laden.
Tiro a Segno, translated literally as “Shoot the Target” is the oldest Italian-American club in the country. The private club was established in 1888 and moved to this location in 1924. The reason behind the move to this former tenement house remains largely unknown though there are scattered obscure references made to the Mafia and Italian-American community in general. Past members include Fiorello La Guardia and Enrico Caruso and the club foundation has donated generously to Italian-American institutions, including $500,000 to establish the Visiting Faculty Fellowship in Italian-American Culture at NYU’s Casa Italiana.
The kitchen however, rather than the shooting gallery, remains the community’s true love. Ingredients frequently arrive fresh that day from Italy and assuming the ingredients are available, the chef will cook any dish of your choice. Any Italian dish of course. Tiro’s membership to the National Rifle Association quietly elapsed around thirty years ago and they remain independent of the organization.
The rest of us unfortunately luck out–the club has a strict non-Italian quota and even with the requisite heritage, applications are only considered when nominated by current members. Every now and again, the rules are bent for events held in the 110-seat banquet room.