“Perhaps one of the reasons Doubles is still here 40 years later,” explains Wendy Carduner, proprietor of the private club in question, “is because each successive generation feels a connection to a place where they have been coming since they were two years old.” While celebrating an anniversary, especially one as important as a 40th, might lead some people to look to the past, Wendy is looking instead to the next generation of members for inspiration. “We have created an environment where, 40 years later, the younger and youngest members are as attached to the club as the oldest members—to me that is very complimentary and it means you are reaching out to every single age group, which is extremely important for longevity.”
We all know why it’s easy to love Doubles: from the moment you breach the unassuming door inside the Sherry-Netherland entrance, and descend the lushly carpeted stairs, you know you’ve entered a more welcoming and gentle world than the one you left outside. Certain standards of civility are expected and met, both from the members and the staff, and everyone is all the happier for it. “Doubles has been a place where my family can experience New York,” says Blair Husain, who hosted her wedding reception at the club. “We see friends, celebrate holidays, visit the theater, establish traditions, and create memories—all in the same beautiful venue.”
While the adult members have always enjoyed all the club has to offer, a precocious fifth grader by the name of Connor McDermott asked Wendy back in 2007 why there weren’t more activities at the club for his age group. He suggested a night of Disco Dancing at Doubles for his fifth- and sixth-grade friends. Nearly a decade later, Kid’s Night is one of the hottest tickets in town, and Wendy has expanded programs available to children of all ages, which has met with rave reviews from kids and parents alike.
“What Wendy has created is truly unique and spans all generations,” exclaims Ashley McDermott, Connor’s mother. “From the toddlers at Halloween in costumes, to the happiest middle school kids in Manhattan dancing the night away, Doubles is a place for families. In a city that can feel cold and lonely, Doubles welcomes you with a blast of red and a big smile from Tom behind the desk and Wendy greeting young and old with her trademark elegance and warmth. My children have literally grown up at Doubles and can’t wait for their own memberships in their twenties.”
The emphasis on manners that adults enjoy extends to the younger crowd as well. “At Kid’s Night, for example, when we have 200 children, the girls go to the buffet first,” explains Wendy. “What it does is teach the boys the concept of ‘ladies first.’ And although at the beginning they found it difficult to understand and accept, they now know that when they come to Doubles, and the buffet opens, they must let the girls go first and stay on the dance floor until it is their turn.”
This attention to the next generation of members has fostered the new generation of Doubles, like Muffie Potter Aston’s twin girls, Ashleigh and Bracie. “Their first ‘party’ with Santa occurred at Doubles when they were only 11 months old,” Muffie recalls. “This lead to Easter and Halloween parties, where the joy of dancing, face painting, and holiday-appropriate activities for children was melded into fun for my husband Sherrell and me, as well as my own parents, to enjoy. What an incredible and heart-warming family history this club holds for us. And with the 40th Anniversary dinner approaching, it’s a generational reminder that at Doubles, there is always something special here for all ages and all stages.”