New management keeps The Players club alive

At 16 Gramercy Park sits a centuries old mansion. It’s the home of The Players club – a private social club that draws its membership from the international theatre community – and has been since the club was founded in 1888 by by the 19th-century Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.)

According to Crain’s, in 2013, after 125 years on the south side of Gramercy Park, the nonprofit was considering selling its landmarked home — reportedly worth at least $10 million — to pay $4.3 million in debt, employee back pay and union pensions.

But in the last three years there have been some changes, and in 2014, a brand-new 21-person board was voted in to run the club and the Players has since grown, stabilized its finances and improved staff morale.

The Players has about 390 dues-paying members, 50 of whom have joined in the past six months, said chairman Arthur Makar, to Crain’s. The club needs 215 more to become profitable.

A resident membership costs $1,500 in initiation fees and $2,000 annually. [Crain’s]