The New York Athletic Club
I belonged to a club in Chicago which enjoyed reciprocity with the New York Athletic Club. The access to other clubs can easily be worth membership in a local club alone. Especially if you travel a lot. The NYAC offered clean rooms at a decent price and was loaded with character.
N.Y.A.C - Home of the lottery dinner
On the one hand, it could take hours to get through dinner. Forgetful waiters, lost entrees, missing drinks. On the other, you might never receive a bill for that dinner. You just never knew with the NYAC. One morning after a swim, I sat alone in their massive steam room. I was taking off my trunks when a woman walked in. She looked the other way as I tugged my trunks back up. You just never knew...
Jr Suite - far left two windows on top floor
There was a junior suite I always asked for on the top floor. The first night there, I came into my room from dinner but couldn't find the light switch. The door slowly closed but an open window offered light in the dark room. I slowly moved to the window and could see an apartment building across the street.
The building across the street
I watched as a man in an art filled living room sat on an ugly sectional watching his big screen television. I could just make out his bald head and saw he was smoking a cigar and watching David Letterman. Without turning on a light, I moved to my television and turned it on. I found the Letterman show, tuned the picture dark and left the sound on.
I took a beer from the mini-bar, turned the desk chair towards the window, sat down and watched Letterman from across the street. He wasn't always there and once I had to sit through Leno, but the NYAC always made feel like a real New Yorker.