Bruising Brawl in Historic New York Athletic Club

A brawl allegedly involving men and women, young and old, broke out in the tap  room of the usually decorous New York Athletic Club on April 12.  (Image Credit: New York Athletic Club)

A fight of epic proportions rattled the foundations of the 144-year-old New York Athletic Club when its upper-crust members threw punches in the tap room, tipped tables and shattered glass in what one observer called "the best fight I've ever seen." It all reportedly started over a woman.

"Young people, old people, girls, members , nonmembers, it was a nondiscriminatory ragematch," according to a witness whose account was posted on the blog Wall Street Jackass.

 Several attempts to break up the fight after a man's girlfriend was knocked down failed, the witness wrote.

Five minutes after the man's girlfriend hit the ground, the bartender jumped in to break up the fight but was knocked off his feet too shouting, "Call nine eleven," according to the witness.

When the punches ceased and the requisite suit jackets were presumably put back on,  three men had been arrested.

Peter Doran, 28, and Matthew O'Grady,  31, face charges of misdemeanor assault. Colin Drowica, 30, is charged with aggravated menacing. All three men were charged in Manhattan Criminal Court,  court officials said.

The club's president, S. Colin Neill, didn't mince words in a letter to members regarding the April 12 free-for-all fracas.

"I cannot state forcefully enough how abhorrent this event is to me, personally, and how contrary it is to the standards of decorum that we expect of our members and guests," Neill wrote in the letter, which was first obtained by the New York Times.

Neill also warned that members' sharing photographs, video or talking about the fight on social media would not be tolerated.

Members pay $8,500 to join the elite bastion and an additional $3,000 per year in membership fees. The institution, which opened its doors in 1868, has trained Olympic athletes in such sports as  fencing and water polo, while also serving as an athletic and social playground for the 1 percent.

The New York Athletic Club did not respond to's repeated requests  for comment.

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