A Legendary Celebration

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Private Club Doubles Celebrates 40th Anniversary

On Thursday May 12th, the creme-de-la-creme of York Society gathered to toast the iconic private club, Doubles celebrating its four decades.  Guests like New York Charitable circles Muffie Potter Aston and Ashley McDermott, Claudia Overstrom, and Barbara Taylor Bradford came down the infamous red staircase (known as “deep throat” when it opened in ’76) and were welcomed by Club Chairman Wendy Carduner.

Doubles‘ rich history dates back to 1974, the year it was founded by Wendy Garduner’s father Joe Norban along with Earl Blackwell  and it was meant to be a Backgammon Club… ergo the name Doubles. However, when the club opened in 1976, Backgammon had become less popular and it instead became a Luncheon-Dinner and Dancing Club. Members including Pat Buckley, Pat Patterson, Nan Kempner, Mica Ertigun and guests including the Kennedy Clan, Frank Sinatra and Kirk Douglas all dined and danced surrounded by the Club’s warm and magical red decor created by inventive designer Valerian Rybar.

Mrs. Carduner  has run the Club in her position as Chairman since 1982.  Throughout the Clubs 40 year history  the decor has had several updates by Tom Britt and Valentino Samsonadze and has been updated over the years to vibrant shades of Claret, but the warm ambience and relaxing atmosphere remained always the same . The membership roster continues to reflect the sophisticated New Yorker with homes in the city, the Hamptons, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Bermuda and other warm climates.

The black tie gala’s attendees included Elaine and Ken Langone, Chris Beck, Jann Bullock, Geoffrey Bradfield, Kathy and Othon Prounis, Mark Gilbertson, among others. The guests enjoyed cocktails under the hundreds of pink balloons-decorated ceiling and arches before heading to the dining room for a three-course dinner. The night’s decadent menu featured Crabmeat and Mousse of Avocado, Horse Radish Crust Salmon and Filet Mignon, as guests took their seats at the silver confetti and pink roses decorated tables.  But the dinner’s biggest hit was a delicious Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Chocolate Chip Gelato Torte prepared by Chef Steve Mellina.

At the beginning of the gala Wendy Garduner thanked the members for their friendship and support and also thanked the staff for their many years of dedication. Wendy surprised everyone present when she said that over 400 members have maintained their memberships for over 25 years… many of whom were present that evening. After the dinner, guests moved to the dance floor and danced away to the sounds of Bob Hardwick and his Orchestra.

As the evening came to a halt, it became clear why Doubles continues to be a classic institution rooted in civilized traditions of the past, creating a safe, family-friendly space where friends can meet and entertain and where their children can enjoy the many events and dances that are organized throughout the year.

Photos by Annie Watt/


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