In 1868, John Babcock, Henry Buermeyer and William Curtis sought to bring order to the disorganized world of amateur athletics in the USA.
The club they built has become home to icons from the worlds of business, the arts, politics and, of course, athletics.
On September 8th, 1868, Henry Buermeyer, John Babcock and William Curtis gathered with 11 like-minded sportsmen in the Knickerbocker Cottage, a popular hostelry located on 6th Avenue and 28th Street in Manhattan. Although their aspirations were high, they could never have envisioned the heights to which their new-found club would ascend.
Milestones came fast and furious in the opening years. The NYAC introduced bicycle racing and the sport of fencing to the United States. The Club hosted the country’s first indoor track meet and the first U.S. championships in track and field, boxing and wrestling. In 1903, the country’s first squash courts were built at the NYAC purpose-built headquarters.
All the while, NYAC athletes were training for the highest levels of competition, while its general membership was expanding to include power brokers, icons and denizens of New York business and society.
The NYAC’s first City House opened in 1885 on 55th St and 6th Avenue. The opening gala was heralded as a glamorous success, attended by nearly all of Mrs. Astor’s “400.”The Club’s second City House was situated at 59th St and 6th Avenue; the third - and current – is located at 59th St and 7th Avenue and opened in 1929.
The intermingling of athletics, recreation, socializing and camaraderie has only strengthened since those early days. Today, the NYAC’s members – from elite sportsmen and women to recreational enthusiasts to gourmands and oenophiles - continue a tradition nearly 150 years in the making. That tradition illustrates all that individuals of ability, vision and commitment can accomplish. It is these individuals who comprise the cornerstone of the New York Athletic Club.