simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Harmonie Club
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Sunday, 1 July 2007

Harmonie Club

Private clubs can really be private - click here for the Harmonie Club's website and you will see what I mean - no information of any sort other than a few small photos and drawings. Read as I may and try as I did, I have no interior photos for you, no detailed history, no fascinating stories, no idea about membership requirements. I have no idea what goes on there, who the members are, what the dues are. In fact, until recently they were so private, they did not want members who were open about their Jewishness. There was a book published in 1977 - The Harmonie Club: One Hundred and Twenty-Five Years, 1852-1977 - a dealer's description of the book says "What is most interesting is that the words "Jew" and "Jewish" do not appear in this history." The Harmonie club is the second oldest private club in NYC. It was founded in 1852 as the Gesellschaft Harmonie by six German/Jewish immigrants (unable to gain admittance to the Metropolitan Club) for the purpose of "mutually beneficial social entertainment, occasional singing entertainments, lectures, etc." The Harmonie distinguished itself from other all-men's clubs by allowing women at dinner since its founding. Many of the members of the Harmonie Club were powerful Jewish families of the time, as chronicled in Our Crowd by Stephen Birmingham. The club building, a renaissance palace designed by McKim Mead and White in 1906, is located at 4 W. 60th Street - just steps from Fifth Avenue, Grand Army Plaza and Central Park. This location is probably the prime location in Manhattan. In 2001, prior to his campaign for mayor, Michael Bloomberg resigned from four private clubs, including the Harmonie Club. His reason was lack of diversity in membership. Not one of the 1200 members at the club was black ...


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