New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Secret Society

I am fascinated by the places that are prominently located yet rarely mentioned. The plaque at 77 MacDougal Street says Tiro A Segno, New York Rifle Club. This address is just south of one of the most touristy, trafficked blocks in the city - the Figaro Cafe and Bleecker Street are within eyeshot. This very exclusive, members-only club occupies three entire brownstone row houses - 3 flags hang in front - one American, one Italian and one brandishing Tiro A Segno - which literally means "shoot the target" - (Tiros date back to eighth century Italy's bow-and-arrow groups). This is the oldest private Italian-American club in the US, founded in 1888 and in this location since 1924. And private is the operative word - you won't find much about this place - I had to really dig for this one. Visit their website and you will get the idea. Prospective members must be nominated by a current member and there is a quota on non-Italians. Members have included former mayor Fiorella Laguardia, Enrico Caruso, and Garibaldi. What goes on in there? Wine, fine dining (dining hall seats 110), conversation and rifle shooting in the basement gallery with three wood paneled ranges and a choice of targets. And charitable work is done e.g., in 2000, the Tiro a Segno foundation donated $500,000 to establish the Visiting Faculty Fellowship in Italian-American Culture at NYU. Apparently any vestiges of former members like convicted politicians Biaggi and Esposito are long gone ...

9 comments:

Stephane said...

Very interesting as usual, thanks. NY is such a place of many discoveries.
I was wondering if it has nothing to do with NRA ?

Brian said...

stephane;
I believe they were formerly members of the NRA, but are no longer.
Brian

Lucy said...

I like the austere and formal quality of the photo...

james said...

Hmm, interesting. Wonder why the Sons of Italy don't go after this for "shoot the target" as a negative representation of Italian-Americans.
Thanks for the research, Brian.

micah said...

mu friend's parents were members here, he said that it was real nice, good food. Plus you can goto the basement and shoot guns between dinner and dessert. ;)

Keropok Man said...

if only u can get in there and take some photos for us :-)

i would love to see the nice food that micah mentioned..

dashing diva said...

Last february i was at the rifle club with 3 of my friends.Got invited to one of the manager to their anniversary. We had a blast that night.Having a nice dinner and drinks. In between dessert,we end up shooting and taking more pics at the basement...
w/ me and my girls!!! whoa!!!

Anonymous said...

The place is a very good restaurant/lounge club. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is great! Brian

Anonymous said...

I grew up goin to Tiros. What a place. Something out of a movie really. Old school. Big red velvet dining chairs, great food and a huge cheese and fruit platter for dessert we'd always get before we'd head down to the basement to shoot 22's. I lived alotta places and I'll tell ya, there's nothin like this kinda place anywhere. A true original. And in Little Italy, no doubt.