Renaissance Revival: The Racquet and Tennis Club NYC

Renaissance Revival: The Racquet and Tennis Club NYC

1918 Racquest and Tennis Club NYC

Tennis on my mind. The Australian Open begins the tennis season in January in a summer place, while we have snow and ice surrounds here in the Northeast. I’ve been involved with tennis since 1973, so I’ve seen it have those swings, pardon the pun, from hot to cold, and I’m not talking about temperature. Tennis courts so busy, you couldn’t find one to play on, to so many courts and no one interested to play. This has come full circle. Tennis is in again. Play tennis . . . a great exercise and mind challenging game. In 1918, NYC’s Racquet and Tennis club, designed by McKim, Mead and White, very much the palace style of architecture,

Racquet and Tennis club 370 Park Avenue, NYC-

Renaissance Revival. A popular style in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Italian Renaissance Revival

Identifiable Features

  • Low-pitched hipped or flat roof.
  • Symmetrical facade.
  • Masonry construction.
  • Impressive size and scale.
  • Round arch entrance and windows.
  • Classical details: columns, pilasters.
  • Roof line parapet or balustrade.
  • Arcaded and rusticated ground level.

    Details

Surprised me, I have never visited this beautiful club in NYC. After all, I’m a certified USPTA tennis teaching pro, and have played tennis in most states, and in London, and Bangladesh. And I taught History of Architecture at the university level. I wonder how many pros have been there?

On the fourth and fifth floors what is really special about the Racquet Club is on display. On the south end are two court tennis courts, something like indoor tennis courts but with some odd angles and sloping walls. Court tennis involves rebounds off all four walls, changing boundaries, second chances and other arcane rules more like chess than regular tennis.A link from Google Maps for your perusal. The roof is glass: http://bit.ly/2j9Zy0p,

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 court (real) tennis courts.

On July 13, 1983, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The club sold its air rights on Park Avenue to a developer a number of decades ago, resulting in the unusual sight, for New York, of a glass-clad skyscraper rising in the middle of the block, immediately behind the club.

If it interests you to know details, Wikipedia has a handle on them.

Racquet and Tennis Club – Wikipedia

Looks like a fun place. What do you think?

BALLROOM COMPETITION DONE!

BALLROOM COMPETITION DONE!

Done Deal, this competition. I did it! The dancing competition at Foxwoods this past weekend was fantastic. Up at 5:30 a.m. for makeup, then hair up, then dress up. I glanced in the mirror, who is that?

Queen of the Ball (but really, that's me)

Queen of the Ball (but really, that’s me)

But you see, this is my exercise workshop. I never could stick to a gym. Tennis was always my sport, but now that I’m bionic, dancing works better. It can be strenuous, but it’s not dangerous. Dancing is great for the heart. You can raise your heartbeat in five minutes of dancing, as if you were running. After fifteen months, I’m in better shape than ever. Like Mom never said, “Stand up straight.” Didn’t your Mom say that? Now my dance teacher tells me the same thing.

Gail & Henry, the teacher

Gail & Henry, the teacher

Henry doesn’t have a stick, but he has Monika who comes along and pulls my head off my neck, then pulls my arms out of my sockets, pushes in my tummy and then says—with emphasis—Stand. Up. Straight. Like I never heard that before. It’s then that Henry takes my head and places it into this odd position so I can’t see his face anymore, and says, “There, that’s good.” Then I say, “Where are you, Henry? I can’t see you anymore.” Monika then puts on the music and Henry whirls me around the room and tell me to look up, but don’t let the white of my eyes show. OK, enough. But honestly, maintaining good posture, stretching your body, standing all-pulled-up is good for your health. You see, you are not just moving your body; you are controlling your muscle movement. Guess what? You eventually get endowed with muscle memory. Yup, it’s true, you remember to stand up straight . . .

After the ball, the banquet. You get to wear a new get-up.

After the ball, the banquet. You get to wear a new get-up.

I have come to realize that this sport permits me to enjoy a range of mobility, balance and flexibility that had begun to diminish. The patterns and methods challenge your mind, sort of like rubbing your head and patting your stomach simultaneously. I intend to continue dancing, if for nothing else, the challenge. I don’t need a competition to be inspired to achieve excellence. No matter how long it takes, excellence is my goal. I love to dance, so dance I will. One dance pattern after another, perfectly matched to music as I seek perfection. .

Hubby Tom, my date & me

Hubby Tom, my date & me

If you know anything about dancing, you know that the cha-cha, the hustle and swing (lindy) can be strenuous, but did you know that a properly-done waltz or a properly-done fox trot can also be physically exhausting. There’s more control involved. Just practice this, stretch your body straight up, keep your shoulders down, hold in that tummy and . . . well, just that for a few minutes. Imagine moving around the room at the same time. Dancing attracts folks who want more than exercise. Who has ever considered dancing as exercise? Have you? Dance enriches and inspires all of us by immersing us into the beauty of movement and music. Tell me, do you want to dance?

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