Metropolitan Club by George Eastman HouseThis guest post was written by Knightsbridge Park, a full service real estate marketing company specializing in search engine optimization and digital strategy.

The Metropolitan Club has been one of New York City’s most exclusive and prestigious clubs since it was founded in 1891. With an interior that resembles a European palace and a long history of high-profile members, this institution is truly fascinating for both members and outsiders. Here are seven things you might not know about the venerable club:

1. The formation of the Metropolitan reportedly came about when legendary banker and financier J.P. Morgan realized that all of the truly luxurious and exclusive clubs in New York only admitted members who were considered “old money”—ironic, given that the Metropolitan today is considered a hub for just that!

2. The Clubhouse at 1 East 60th Street and Fifth Avenue cost $1,777,480.20 to complete, according to records from The Finance and Building Committee.

3. Though often referred to as a gentlemen’s club, The Metropolitan has had a far more open-door policy to women than its counterparts in NYC. Until the 1940s, visiting females had their own “ladies’ annex”— today, there are no restrictions at all.

4. J.P. Morgan reportedly told Stanford White, the architect who designed the lavish and imposing Clubhouse: “Build a club fit for a gentleman and damn the cost!” White was the man to do it—while the Metropolitan was still under construction, White designed the world-famous Washington Square Park arch.

Metropolitan Club ceiling

Photo: jwilly/Flickr

5. The land on which the Metropolitan was built was purchased from the Duchess of Marlborough by the Club’s 25 original Governors, who each contributed $5,000 —which, coincidentally, is now the cost of an annual membership.

6. In March 1891, the founding members decided on a name for the club. Unfortunately for them, there was already a Metropolitan Club, located at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue. The New York Times wryly recommended, “it may be advisable, if necessary for the convenience of postmen or otherwise, to distinguish the two houses, to let the present house be known as Metropolitan Club, Sr., and to call the new house Metropolitan Club, Jr.”

Metropolitan Club exterior wallyg

Photo: wallyg/Flickr

7. The Metropolitan maintains a very strict dress code for its members. Its website provides very specific guidelines: “Gentlemen are required to wear jackets and ties at all times (turtlenecks and ascots are not acceptable.) Appropriate attire for ladies is dresses, skirts, dressy pant suits and business pant suits. Jeans, shorts, stirrup pants, leggings, stretch pants, tight pants, sweats and T-shirts are absolutely not acceptable.”

Looking for the gentlemen’s club treatment at home? The plush amenities at Halcyon condominiums might just be your (gilded) ticket.

Top photo: George Eastman House

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