Volume 22, Number 27 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 13 - 19, 2009
Posh Squash Penthouse
The most exclusive penthouse in Lower Manhattan could soon be coming to 60 Pine St.
That’s the location of the Down Town Association, a private club for businessmen (and more recently women) founded in 1859. The club is planning a three-story addition to the landmark six-story building, including squash courts and bedrooms for members.
“We’re a social club,” said Mark Altherr, a financial analyst and president of the club. “And social clubs these days need bedrooms and athletic facilities.”
The squash courts will be the only ones in Lower Manhattan, Altherr said. The bedrooms will be convenient for members who live out of town, or local members can use them to put up visiting relatives.
Altherr said the club has been considering the expansion for about 15 years, but they just started seeking approvals now. He will be presenting the designs, by Page Ayres Cowley Architects, to Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee this Thurs., Nov. 12. After the board issues an advisory resolution, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission will weigh in.
Altherr hopes to open the addition to the club’s nearly 700 members in the beginning of 2012.
It looks like the association has a good chance of getting C.B. 1’s approval, especially because the addition is set back over 20 feet and will not be visible from Pine St.
Landmarks chairperson Roger Byrom, who toured the club with other C.B. 1 members last week, was also pleased that the owners are removing modern additions like a fire escape from the building and are adding historic features.
The Down Town Association was Lower Manhattan’s first social club and boasted such notable members as Franklin Roosevelt. Members have access to club services including daily meals, humidity-controlled cigar storage, a barbershop that gives facials and pound-for-pound, one of the largest men’s rooms anywhere.
The goo goos have never gone ga ga for former Republican State Sen. Majority Leader Joe Bruno, but dare we say that politics can make for some strange bedfellows — we would of course only be speaking metaphorically.
The goos or good government groups often saw Bruno as one of the chief roadblocks to Albany reform, but on Tuesday, Dick Dadey, leader of Citizens Union, urged Senate Democrats to follow the example of Bruno who “courageously” let a gay rights bill reach the floor for debate in 2000 even though Bruno knew it couldn’t pass without Democratic support. Dadey, also the former head of the Empire State Pride Agenda, is urging the Dems to allow an open debate and vote on gay marriage even though a few Democrats oppose the measure.
The government and gay right groups have certainly amped up their criticism on the Senate Dems’ footdragging in recent weeks. First Alan Van Capelle accuses unnamed Democrats of lying about marriage, and now they’re being accused of being less than Bruno.
Them’s fighting words in Albany and the Democratic leadership did not take kindly to it. We hear without the arm-twisting of Gov. David Paterson, Van Capelle and others Tuesday night, the leaders would not have agreed to bring marriage to a vote sometime this year.