Up There Down There
Last night I had dinner at the Harvard Club. But you cannot leave it as so. When somebody asks you what your plans are for the evening, you must reply, "I will be dining at the Haarvaard Club."
The history of the club is as follows:
"The name or title by which the society or Club into which we desire to form ourselves as aforesaid shall be known in law, shall be the
HARVARD CLUB OF NEW YORK CITY
The particular business and object of such society or club shall be to promote social intercourse among ourselves and others, our associates and successors, who are to be persons who have been connected with Harvard University as students or instructors, or who have received honorary degrees therefrom, and for that purpose to establish and maintain in the City and County of New York, for the use of ourselves and such others above mentioned, a club house, having a library, a reading room, a gallery of art, and such other appurtenances and belongings as are usual in clubs and club houses."
From the Certificate of Incorporation, April 16, 1887
For more, see here.
The main dining room is built in proportions that no longer exist in today's restaurants, especially in the squeezed real estate of Manhattan. With fifty-foot high ceilings, dimly lit chandeliers and resonant paneling, the room seems better suited for ballroom dancing than dining. The chairs are made for robust (i.e. fat) men, the wine is poured into goblets. And there's taxidermy. Overlooking my dinner was the head of a dead elephant. This did not bother my appetite, though. I ordered the wild grilled salmon with asparagus and lemon dill sauce, which I found to be somewhat mediocre, given the ostentation of the setting. Looking back on it, I probably should have gone with the steak.
After dinner, we headed into the library for a concert/lecture given by Pianist/Psychiatrist, Richard Kogan, class of '77. The library features more of the same -- instead the walls hold tapestries in addition to stuffed animals. Kogan delivered a mostly biographical lecture on Mozart and try as he did to make it entertaining ("I don't know about you guys, but I think Mozart was a late bloomer!"), he was much better at playing the music of Mozart than talking about it.
In all, it was a welcomed change of pace. It had been a while since I went to a concert that did not require a stamp on my hand and it was refreshing to be home by 10:00. My date for the evening? An 86-year-old man and he was a pefect gentleman.