9. The Players Club (Founded 1899)
In 1888, Edwin Booth, brother to the infamous John Wilkes Booth, founded The Players Club at 16 Gramercy Park South together with fifteen other incorporators, including Mark Twain and General William Tecumseh Sherman. It was intended as a club where actors could socialize with the elite and elevate their status from rabble-rousers to artists.
Housed in a stately Greek Revival townhouse, The Players Club occupies four floors, plus the Grill and taproom in the basement. Appropriately, a theater is located on the main floor. A curious artifact is the bedroom of Booth on the third floor, which remains full of his mementos, exactly as he left it. Walking into the room, you can still smell the tobacco scent of smoke that clung to the wallpaper. One of his fans actually left his body to Booth after he died, and became the skull that Booth held in Hamlet’s famous soliloquy.
Our upcoming insider tour of the Players Club will be led by a docent from the organization and will include a visit to the Booth bedroom: