NYC: Racquet and Tennis Club
Designed by William S. Richardson, a partner of McKim, Mead and White in an eclectic, Italian Renaissance style, the Racquet and Tennis Club building is representative of the ornate private clubs constructed in New York during the early twentieth century.
The Racquet and Tennis Club is a private men's athletic club. To this day, it still does not admit women as members. Its ancestor, The Racquet Court Club, opened in 1876 at 55 West 26th Street with only a racquets court. The second club house at 27 West 43rd Street (1891) had one racquets court and one real tennis court.
Construction began on December 20, 1916, and was completed on September 7, 1918. The builder was Mark Edlitz, and the estimated cost was $400,000. The building is about 200 feet by 100 feet and five stories tall. The exterior is stone and brick over a structural steel frame. The most interesting features of the subdued front elevation are the recessed loggia and the frieze in the form of a tennis net with crossed racket.
According to the original plans, the interior contained three dining rooms, a billiard room, library, lounge, gymnasium, four squash courts, two court tennis (real tennis) courts, and two racquets courts. Today, there are four International squash courts, one North American doubles squash court, one racquets court, and the two tennis courts.
Club professionals have been world champions is both racquets and real tennis. The most famous was Pierre Etchebaster, Real Tennis World Champion. Neil Smith was World Racquets Singles Champion, and World Doubles Champion. Tim Chisholm (partnered by Julian Snow) won the Real Tennis Doubles World Championship.
The Racquet and Tennis Club was designated a landmark by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1979.
National Register #83001741 (1983)