How to Join the New York Athletic Club

by Benna Crawford

Non-members may attend galas and other events at the NYAC or use the facilities as the guest of a member.

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The New York Athletic Club, founded in 1868 as an all-male gentlemen's club dedicated to excellence in amateur sports, has an iconic city clubhouse at the southern tip of Central Park and a waterfront summer home on Long Island Sound. Its members have won hundred of Olympic medals, and the club roster includes historic and celebrated names, not made public. Today the club accepts women, minorities and members of all faiths, but it is still a tough ticket; the NYAC does not publicize how to become a member, and the process is both confidential and subjective.

Network with NYAC members from your prestigious university, your profession, your amateur athletic activities or your social circle. Broach the subject of membership in the NYAC only when you are confident that the members are strongly supportive acquaintances or good friends who know you well. You need at least two sponsors to put up your name for membership, in most cases.

Conduct your business and personal life in a manner that is above reproach and maintain generally courteous and agreeable relationships with any club members in all your dealings outside the club. Your application for membership is subject to scrutiny, and existing members may raise objections to your acceptance. It's best to avoid any animosity.

Meet with the membership board, who will interview you to determine if you would be a good fit with the other members.

Accept a proffered invitation and pay your initiation fee and annual dues.


  • The NYAC contains a fitness center, gymnasium, squash, racquetball and handball courts, a rooftop track, an aquatic center, numerous training classes, a fencing program and a storied commitment to yacht and powerboat racing. Your own involvement in sports and fitness will work in your favor if you want to become a member.

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About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .