New York Yacht Club sues city over fireplaces

Credi: Dayton in Manhattan
Credi: Dayton in Manhattan

The centerpieces of the historic New York Yacht Club are its spectacular fireplaces. But at the moment, they are little more than ornamental. Now, the club is suing the city to get the fires going again.

The landmark clubhouse, located at 37 West 44th Street, is only 85 feet high, and it sold its air rights to a developer in 1985 — which included a chimney. That “air” was soon after gobbled up by the 300-foot Sofitel Hotel, leaving the club with no way to use the fireplaces it is so famous for.

The club sued the Sofitel last year, seeking $25 million in damages, but the suit was dropped. The club now argues that the city has an obligation to force the hotel to solve the problem, according to the New York Post.

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The club “has been unable to use its fireplaces as a result of Sofitel’s failure’’ to comply with city regulations, according to its lawyer John Simoni. “The club does not wish to tolerate such conditions any longer.”

But the Sofitel sees things differently, arguing that the club waited over a decade to demand ventilation. “We’re confident that the case will be dismissed,” Gil Feder, the hotel’s lawyer, said.

And for now, the city seems to agree with the hotel.

“The neighboring property owners need to work this out between themselves,” a city Department of Buildings spokesman said. “It’s been 12 years since the taller building was completed. The department has no basis at this time to issue a violation against Sofitel regarding the chimney.” [NYP] Christopher Cameron