5. The University Club (1861)

The University Club, a private club on Fifth Avenue.

The University Club, founded in 1861, forms an imposing corner along Fifth Avenue. Built when this Fifth Avenue stretch was filled with Gilded Age private mansions, it now forms a contrast with the luxury stores in its midst. The high windows prevent much peeking in but you may notice the smell of chlorine from the pool inside while walking by.

Gilded Age Mansions Tour

Ukrainian Institute

The first meeting of the University Club took place in 1861 at Columbia Law School, and the club’s charter was formed in 1865. Its first building was located at 26th Street and Madison Avenue. The Fifth Avenue club was built in 1899 by famed architects McKim, Mead and White. and the interiors, which include a grand ballroom and library, are beyond opulent. The University Club, unlike what its name may seem to imply, is not affiliated with the clubs of universities but the stately Harvard Club and Yale Club were both built in this same decade.

One of the tricks of the private club search is to stay as an overnight guest. The University Club has guest rooms on upper levels available for overnight stays.