50 Vanderbilt Avenue: Yale Club
Yale Club of New York City
50 Vanderbilt Avenue
James Gamble Rogers, 1915
The original Yale Club of New York City opened on Madison Square in 1897. After moving to 30 West 44th street in 1901, the Club relocated permanently to 50 Vanderbilt Avenue in 1915 (Yale Club 2013). At that time, the terminal area was fast becoming the center of civic life in New York, and it made sense for a club catering to successful businessmen to be in the heart of it. Built across the street from Grand Central Terminal shortly after the completion of the terminal itself and on land owned by the New York & Harlem Railroad, the Yale Club is an important contextual component to the Grand Central area.
The 22-story “clubhouse,” seven bays wide along Vanderbilt and six bays deep along 44th Street, was designed by New York architect James Gamble Rogers. Rogers was known for not only revivalism but outright historicism in architecture, though he often relied on modern construction methods. The neoclassical Yale Club incorporates elements of the Italian Renaissance Revival. A massive five-story base of coursed limestone ashlar with rusticated joints supports fourteen stories of tan brick, topped by a double-height ballroom in the limestone-clad “capital,” consisting of round-arched windows flanked by monumental order which appears, from the ground, to be some version of the Corinthian order. The deeply overhanging roof remains intact, with copper modillions and anthemia visible, a rarity in buildings of this style and period.
In addition to this highly-visible commission, Rogers, a Yale alumnus, was responsible for extensive work at Yale’s New Haven campus. In 1917, shortly after completing the Yale Club, Gamble Rogers was commissioned by the university to master plan and redesign a significant and prominent part of Yale’s central campus, known as the Memorial Quadrangle, now Branford & Saybrook Colleges (Yale Library 1998).
Yale Club of New York City website, 2013. Available online: http://www.yaleclubnyc.org
Mooney, James E. , “Yale Club,” in Kenneth T. Jackson, The Encyclopedia of New York City (New Haven, CT & London & New York: Yale University Press & The New-York Historical Society), 1280.
Yale Library, Building a University. Online Exhibition: http://www.library.yale.edu/mssa/exhibits/building/part2/page1.htm