A.A.C., New York Section
A.A.C., New York Section. On July 4, 1993, an era came to a close as the American Alpine Club moved its headquarters from the Ladd Clubhouse in New York City, where it had resided since 1949, to the Junior High School Building in Golden, Colorado. This was an emotional occasion for the New York Section, even though the converted firehouse had long been too small to accommodate most Section events. Over the years numerous New Yorkers had lavished a great deal of love, care, attention—and money—on the building, the Library and the Alpine Museum, beginning with the original legacy and endowment created by William Sargent Ladd and additions to it over the years. The passing of the physical and philanthropic baton to the West was suitably marked at “The Last Firehouse Dinner” at Sarabeth’s Restaurant on the Upper East Side on June 10. Hosted by former President and Club Historian Bill Putnam, the nostalgic event was attended by a number of officers and members who had dedicated much time and effort to the care and upkeep of the old Clubhouse and its contents.
Despite the move, the work of the Section continues. Over the last decade, the New York Section has grown both in absolute as well as relative terms and is now the second largest in the Club. Contributing to this expansion has been a diversified menu of social events and outings which gives members the opportunity to meet one another and to make new friends and climbing partners. Climbing is, after all, not a solitary sport and need not be conducted at the highest level for its participants to gain personal satisfaction. Highlights of the year included two very popular weekends in the Adirondacks, one in spring and the other in winter; two lectures—by Fritz Selby and Sandy Pittman—each followed by a social hour; the Fourth Annual “Alpinfilm,” New York’s International Mountain Film Festival, which the Section co-sponsors with Outside Magazine and Rolex; an indoor sport climbing evening and fun competition at the Manhattan Plaza Climbing Gym; and, finally, the Annual Section Dinner at the Union Club. Now in its 14th year, the Dinner, a black tie benefit for the Alpine Journal Publishing Fund, not only features presentations by the world’s leading alpinists but also serves as a reunion of the extended New York Section family, many journeying long distances for the occasion. This year’s special guests were John Roskelley, with a warm and witty retrospective on his life as a climber, and Steve Matous, who had recently returned from leading a celebrity trek to exotic Mustang. At the Dinner, 14 new members were introduced and presented with their membership pins.
Looking forward, the nucleus of a New York Section Library has been created thanks to the efforts of John Thackray. The collection presently consists of about 800 volumes which are duplicates of the main collection. Efforts are underway to find a permanent home for the collection, to properly catalogue it and to expand it into areas of particular interest to local members. This undertaking will absorb much of the Section’s energies in the years ahead.
Philip Erard, Chairman