For decades Doubles has been at the nexus of all things swishy and Upper East Sider-y, so when it reached a milestone birthday—its 40th—you’d expect the anniversary celebration would be very glam—and it was!
The club’s czarina, Wendy Carduner, welcomed a crowd of heavy hitters for a black-tie gala that was posh in a flawlessly tasteful way. (You’d expect nothing less—Doubles draws in a New York-Palm Beach-Hamptons crowd made up of names not unfamiliar with the pages of the Social Register).
When Joe Norban, Wendy Carduner’s father, and Earl Blackwell started Doubles in 1974 it was meant to be a backgammon club (hence the name), but the founders quickly realized that the game alone wouldn’t draw in enough members. So two years later the spot became a luncheon-dinner and dancing club for the 10028 set (then the chic-est zip in the city). Members including Pat Buckley, Pat Patterson, Nan Kempner, Mica Ertigun and the Kennedy Clan, Frank Sinatra and Kirk Douglas came to dine and dance amid the sumptuous red decor created by designer Valerian Rybar. Over the years Carduner, who has run Doubles as chairman since 1982, enlisted such noted designers as Tom Britt and Valentino Samsonadze to refurbish the club, but the setting remains as luxurious as ever, although the color palette has swung from red to claret.
Coming out to toast the anniversary with Carduner (and come down the infamous red staircase known as “deep throat” when it opened in ’76) were Muffie Potter Aston, Ashley McDermott, Claudia Overstrom, Elaine and Kenneth Langone, Geoffrey Bradfield, Kathy and Othon Prounis, Mark Gilbertson, Janna Bullock, Claudia and Umberto Carvalho, Amy Hoadley, Kamie Lightburn, Stewart Lane, Christine and George Ledes, Elizabeth Meigher, Jennifer Oken, Stan Ponte, Georgina Schaeffer, Marisa and Robin van Bokhorst and Sandra Wijnberg.
During the dinner, Carduner thanked members for their support and also thanked the staff for their years of dedication to the club. She surprised everyone by saying that 400 members, many of whom were present at the gala, have maintained their memberships for over 25 years. Muffie Potter Aston toasted Wendy for being the devoted ‘guiding light’ of the club.