We previously covered the history of the Level Club, a former masonic clubhouse and hotel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan–but recently Scouting New York got some great photographs of the lobby. The cornerstone was laid in 1925, but by 1930, saddled with a mortgage of $2.2 million, the opulent 16-story hotel went into foreclosure. But the lofty goals of the Level Club seemed justified in the decade leading up to the Great Depression. Founded with just 22 members in 1920, in less than five years it had a membership of over 5,000 masons including then-United States President Warren G. Harding.
The Level Club was planned to contain 225 sleeping room with baths, an auditorium, a ballroom, a swimming pool, a modern Turkish bath, a gymnasium, open-air handball courts, bowling alleys, billiard parlors, clubrooms, a library, and a dinning room. Not surprisingly, there was some crossover with another high-end luxury building on the same block–The Ansonia, with its own fascinating history. As Scouting New York reports, Babe Ruth, who lived in The Ansonia came over to use the bowling alleys in the basement of the Level Club.
The Level Club became a regular hotel, then a kosher hotel, and drug-rehabilitation center run by Phoenix House, before its current conversion into upscale condominium. Read more about the history of The Level Club here. See more interior photos at Scouting New York.
Next, check out 12 fun facts about the historic Ansonia Hotel.