Penn Club of New York

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Penn Club of New York
Penn Club of New York (front).JPG
Formation1901; 120 years ago (1901) (incorporated)
Type501(c)7 not-for-profit, private social club
Headquarters30 W 44th St
ServicesDining, bar, hotel, meeting rooms, business center, library, events, fitness center, spa, massage
5,000+ globally
OwnerUniversity of Pennsylvania
Penn Club of New York
General information
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
Location30 W 44th St, New York, New York
Coordinates40°45′19″N 73°59′02″W / 40.755279°N 73.9839628°W / 40.755279; -73.9839628Coordinates: 40°45′19″N 73°59′02″W / 40.755279°N 73.9839628°W / 40.755279; -73.9839628
Design and construction
ArchitectTracy & Swartwout
DesignatedFebruary 9, 2010[1][2]
Reference no.2379

The Penn Club of New York (usually referred to as The Penn Club) is an American private, social club located in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. Its membership is restricted to University of Pennsylvania alumni, students, faculty, and family members thereof, with affiliate and reciprocal membership to select institutions.

Originally occupied by the Yale Club of New York City, the 14-story clubhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.[3][4] For numerous consecutive terms, The Penn Club won the Platinum Club of America award, placing it in the top 3% among 6,000 clubs in the U.S. for perceived excellence, and ranked #14 best city club in the U.S., and #2 city club in New York City.[5]


In November 1886, the first local group of University of Pennsylvania alumni outside of Philadelphia was formed in New York over dinner at Delmonico's Restaurant. At the alumni group's annual banquet at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in January 1900, they presented a plan to secure "a convenient suite of rooms in the middle of the city, adjacent to a cafe."

Royalton Hotel location[edit]

On October 6, 1900, the University of Pennsylvania's Club of New York opened in four ground-floor rooms in the Royalton Hotel, just 200 feet (61 m) west of today's clubhouse. The Penn Club soon had more than 150 members at a time when only 400 alumni lived in the New York area, and received its charter from the New York Legislature in 1901.

Hotel Stanley[edit]

In 1905, the Club moved to "new and commodious quarters" in the Hotel Stanley at 124 West 47th Street, where it remained until 1910. Between 1911 and 1922, however, the Club did away with a clubhouse, instead focusing on their annual banquet.


In 1922, after a three-year search, the club's directors leased two townhouses on East 50th Street, next to what today is the New York Palace Hotel. Throughout the 1920s, the Penn Club on East 50th Street was active and successful. Its dining and guest rooms were regularly filled and its dinners and programs were highly attended. The Great Depression, though, quickly hit the Club hard, and it vacated its townhouses in 1935.

Cornell Club, Phi Gamma Delta Club, and Biltmore Hotel[edit]

Thereafter, it shared space in the Cornell Club on East 38th Street, moved to two other clubs, and finally settled in the Phi Gamma Delta Club on West 56th Street, where it remained until 1961, when it moved to the Biltmore Hotel. The Club stayed in the Biltmore Hotel until the hotel was gutted and made an office tower in 1981 by Paul Milstein.

Penn club NYC historic landmark.JPG

Former Yale Club HQ[edit]

In 1989, the university bought the current 14-story building for $15 million.[1] After raising a separate $25 million (including $150,000+ donations each from Estee Lauder heirs Leonard Lauder and Ronald Lauder, as well as Donald Trump, Saul Steinberg, Michael Milken, and Ronald Perelman) and two years of renovation,[6] the Penn Club moved to its current location on West 44th Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, opening doors in 1994.


Membership in the Penn Club is restricted to alumni, faculty, full-time staff, and students over the age of 21 of the University of Pennsylvania, with a shortlist of schools being able to share the club as affiliate members, including Columbia University, University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, Emory University and Washington College.[7] The club offers legacy memberships to spouses, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, and siblings of University of Pennsylvania-affiliated members.

With more than 5,000 members around the world, The Penn Club is controlled by its members and managed by staff, although the University of Pennsylvania owns the clubhouse building and leases it to the club, a 501(c)7 not-for-profit entity. The university's development and alumni relations department maintains a regional office in the clubhouse.


All members enjoy full use of the clubhouse facilities and its services. The high-rise, 14-story clubhouse includes two restaurants and bars: the double-story, Main Dining Room, which requires a jacket for men and can also be rented for events on weekends, and the Grill Room,[8] which has a sushi chef.[9] Its Benjamin Franklin Living Room (named after the university's founder) features a fireplace, piano, paintings of Penn leaders such as Benjamin Franklin and President Amy Gutmann, and 24/7 library for members to checkout books,[10] and the business center has workspaces and conference rooms. In addition to five floors of 39 guestrooms, there is a Palestra Fitness Center and 13th floor terrace.[11]

Members may also use the squash courts at the Yale Club of New York City, and have access to more than 150 reciprocal private clubs worldwide, including yacht clubs, country clubs, and golf clubs.

Social networking and Clubhouse Row[edit]

Situated at 30 W 44th (and Fifth Avenue), the Penn Club is located on Clubhouse Row[12] directly in front of the Harvard Club of New York at 27 W 44th, on the same block as the Cornell Club of New York at 6 E 44th (and Fifth Avenue) and New York Yacht Club at 37 W 44th, and a block away from the Yale Club of New York City on E 44th (and Vanderbilt) and Princeton Club of New York at 15 W 43rd (and Fifth Avenue) for inter-club events. Despite being in New York City, Columbia University is in residence at The Penn Club, while Dartmouth shares with the Yale Club and Brown shares the Cornell Club.

The club hosts annual events including an inter-club New Year's Eve celebration, members-only celebrations on all major holidays,[13] and regular social networking events on cultural, intellectual, professional, and personal subjects.

Membership also includes access to a members-only Penn Club website and app, and "Societies" or committees to help members network.[14]

Notable members[edit]

  • Donald Trump (Wharton '68, transferred after two years at Fordham)—donated over $100,000 to the Penn Club of New York,[15][16] 45th U.S. President
  • Ivanka Trump (Wharton '04, transferred after two years at Georgetown)—socialite

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the first episode of Season 5 of The Apprentice, the winning team was rewarded with lunch with Donald Trump at the Penn Club.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Summary of landmark hearing" (PDF). February 9, 2010. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  2. ^ "Yale Club of New York City Building – HDC".
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-05. Retrieved 2014-12-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2014-12-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Membership - Penn Club of New York".
  6. ^ "CURRENTS; Clubhouse for Penn". The New York Times. 1994-07-14. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  7. ^ "Welcome to the Penn Club of New York - Penn Club of New York".
  8. ^ "Dining - Penn Club of New York".
  9. ^ "Benefits of Belonging - Penn Club of New York".
  10. ^ "Library - Penn Club of New York".
  11. ^ "Fitness & Massage - Penn Club of New York".
  12. ^ Slatin, Peter (1993-05-09). "Penn's Racing to Join Clubhouse Row". New York Times. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  13. ^ "Annual Events - Penn Club of New York".
  14. ^ "Societies - Penn Club of New York".
  15. ^ Bass, Dina (January 28, 1997). "Trump gives over $100,000 to Penn Club". The Daily Pennsylvanian.
  16. ^ Ferre Sadurni, Luis (November 3, 2016). "Donald Trump may have donated over $1.4 million to Penn". The Daily Pennsylvanian.

External links[edit]