A recent spate of Victorian sitting room-style clubs is mucking with the ironic lifestyle-recycling of eras past. The latest example—after the Bowery Hotel, Freeman's, and Beatrice Inn—is the soon-to-open Norwood, a London-style private club to open this summer. As New York magazine's Geoffrey Gray reports,
"Alan Linn, an ex-manager of the infamously rowdy English club Blacks, and partner Steve Ruggi are vetting applications to something called Norwood... According to its promo material, Norwood is looking for tweedier and artsier types..."Membership criteria are not based on fame or wealth," the material insists, "but by talent."
True, paying extravagant membership dues is a special talent. Especially when the club will be located, most probably, at 241 W. 14th.
Recently valued at $9,770,000, the house was built in 1847 by developer and stockbroker Andrew Norwood and marked "the beginning of 14th Street's brief fashionable era." For much of the 20th century, the mansion was owned by another developer, Raf Borello. According to a 2006 NYT article
, ...the brick Greek Revival town house on the street's north side near Seventh Avenue stands out like a trumpet blast. Its black doors, bearing the address in gold leaf, almost glow, and a cast-iron balcony sets off the parlor windows, which stretch from the floor nearly to the 14-foot ceiling. Inside is a perfectly preserved 1847 mansion, with 13 fireplaces, huge mahogany doors and intricate plaster crown moldings along the ceilings. Hidden touches abound, like the carved bird pecking a flower among the mantelpiece's Carrara marble foliage.
Though Linn and Ruggi are avowedly looking for tweedier talent, those lucky enough to gain access to Norwood, might not find ornithological cornices awaiting. Though the fa
ade is landmarked, we're thinking they won't be able to stop themselves from going all ironic-80s, so when the interior may gets gutted and remodeled, it'll be all Patrick Nagel prints, plushy leather couches and huge answering machines.