Non-Pretentious Private Clubs

Explorer’s Club

Located on the Upper East Side, The Explorer’s Club provides a certain sense of inclusivity you don’t normally experience at other member clubs, with plenty of public events. Even the gothic building that houses The Explorer’s Club gives a sense of warm and inviting history. It’s filled with artifacts from explorations by its founders and members, including Teddy Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and Edmund Hillary. It’s hard to argue with a club with a mission statement and pedigree as follows:

The Explorers Club promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. The Club’s members have been responsible for an illustrious series of famous firsts: First to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean, first to the surface of the moon—all accomplished by our members. The Explorers Club mission is to advance field research, scientific exploration, resource conservation, and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore.

Organized by level of the building, walking through the explorer’s club takes you on a peculiar journey all the way from “sea-level” to “the summit.” Among the quirky artifacts on the way up is a floor filled with stuffed wildlife rejected from the Museum of Natural History, a wall of presdients, and an interesting 4 1/2 floor level.

For a more photos take a closer inside NYC’s Explorer’s Club.

Society of Illustrators (with its cool bar)

Founded on February 1st, 1901, the Society of Illustrators began with a very simple credo: “The object of the Society shall be to promote generally the art of illustration and to hold exhibitions from time to time.” This simple vision seems to have been beneficial, as the institution has remained true to itself for over a century.

In a modern context, the Society acts as a gathering place for industry folks and fans, celebrating the best in contemporary illustration through various gallery and award shows. Scholarships are given to students (they also hold an impressive show annually), there is a weekly sketch and jazz night, one can regularly attend lectures and screenings, and the bar and dining room upstairs, complete with an impressive original Norman Rockwell mural, is surely one of the most elegant in the city.

In addition to being the most important institutions for illustration, it is also an educational powerhouse with a collection that boasts 1,800 original works. All the greats are here, from N.C. Wyeth to Maxfield Parish, and the imagery is vast. Fashion, editorial, science fiction, children’s books–whatever the genre or market, it has a home here, and staff members are diligent about rotating displayed works frequently.
For images and more information on the society, read more about Untapped reporter, Kate Kelly’s, Behind the Scenes experience at the Society of Illustrators.

Next, check out our archive of “Must Visit” Guides in NYC.

With contribution from the previous work of Untapped Cities reporters: .