Located on 16 Gramercy Park South, The Players Club is a private, members-only social club founded in 1888 by noted Shakespearean actor, Edwin Booth. The original purpose of the club was twofold: to renew the tarnished Booth name following the assassination of President Lincoln by Edwin’s younger brother, John Wilkes Booth, and to provide a social setting for up-and-coming artists to socialize with society’s elite.
Tesla was one of many notable members of the Players Club, which included big names like Stanford White, who built the Gramercy Park mansion, Carol Burnett, Ethan Hawke and Jimmy Fallon. As members-only club, visitors are not allowed to enter, but Untapped Cities is hosting several tours of the Players Club this fall.
Tickets for this exclusive event can be purchased below:
In the meantime, here are 10 of our favorite secrets we discovered about The Players Club:
10. The Human Skull Used in Hamlet is Housed Inside the Players Club
One of the most notable places in the stately townhouse is Edwin Booth’s very room. Located on the top floor of the Players Club, it has remained intact and preserved in time nearly exactly as he left it when he died in 1893. In fact, the very distinct smell of tobacco permeates the room, which is decorated with a marble fireplace, a chandelier, a triptych mirror and various photographs.
Probably the most creepy item is the human skull that Booth used in performances of Hamlet. As Christian Campbell, a Players Club member who let us into the room tells us, the skull belonged to a horse thief named Fontaine with whom Edwin’s father, Junius Brutus Booth, also a renown Shakespearean actor, once shared a jail cell with.
Fontaine was hung for his crimes but requested that Junius receive his skull, which was shipped to the Booth home in Baltimore. On the skull itself is an engrave phrase stating: “And the rest is silence.”
Read more on the Edwin Booth room here.