NEW YORK — The Racquet Club can be too stuffy and Soho House too far downtown, so some people still need a place to escape the hoi polloi. For a cool $100,000, one can hide out at The Core Club, opening Sept. 13. The newest addition to the private club craze, The Core Club aims to appeal to the highest level of paying customer by bumping up service and installing curators to shape the cultural experience of its members. New York glitterati including Woody Johnson, Jonathan Tisch, Serena Boardman, Christine and Steven Schwarzman, Patricia Kluge and Vernon Jordan have already signed up.

“It’s a completely different service model,” claims Jennie Saunders, Core Club founder, president and chief executive officer, who plans to roll out the concept in Los Angeles, London and Shanghai.

Each member will be assigned a “Core Consultant” who keeps a database on their habits, likes and dislikes. “What’s great service to one [member] is not to another. It’s our job to understand the distinction,” explains Saunders. The consultants will anticipate members’ needs, and understand, she says, “what it means when one of the media members holds an event in the screening room, how the Asians want to be treated.”

The uberclub’s own creative director is graphic designer Richard Pandiscio, who oversaw the design of the seven floors on East 55th Street, all done by SPaN, architects known for the minimalist Calvin Klein boutique. The sleek results include a bar and indoor and outdoor dining areas (which offer a menu by Craft chef Tom Colicchio), a movie theater, a library, a gym and sauna and six hotel-like suites.

Pandiscio also had a hand in the curatorial program. “The kind of members that we hope to attract are already exposed to the information that they need to run their businesses,” he says. “We can fill out the rest of their lives, so we developed programs in the major disciplines: debate, film, literature and art.”

Artistic curator Yvonne Force coaxed works from friends like Julian Schnabel and David Salle, as well as from the collection of members like Aby Rosen, to fill the 30,000 square feet of hanging space. Along with Force, Cindy Sherman and Lisa Yuskavage will be Art Fellows, available for studio visits and lectures. Lee Carpenter, formerly of The Paris Review, has been brought on as literary curator, and the New York Public Library’s Paul Holdengraber is wrangling people like Charlie Rose for in-house panels.

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But if $100,000 sounds steep, don’t worry. With a nomination from a founding member and approval by the committee, the Core Membership is a veritable bargain at a mere $55,000 per annum.

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