The Lambs, New York City's oldest club for actors and other theatrical folk, is close to an agreement with its landlord to stay at its 3 West 51st Street home, Corresponding Secretary Peter Kinglsey told Playbill.com.
The club, which was founded in 1874, had been facing a steep rent increase, and was considering the possibility of having to move or close, according to the Vanishing New York blog.
That website had previously reported that Lambs’ landlord, the Women's National Republican Club, was hiking the rent—“and the future of this illustrious club is unknown in a city where the rent is too damn high.” The club's latest lease technically expired July 1, and the landlord reportedly had been asking for a 50 percent increase.
However, Kingsley told Playbill.com that the lease is “still in negotiations” and that they are close to finalizing a more ”moderate increase.”
Kingsley said it looks like the Lambs will be able to stay in its current location for at least another three years.
The Lambs is one of the few New York theatrical institutions that has been around longer than Playbill (founded in 1884). The club is full of history. My Fair Lady songwriters Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe reportedly met there when one of them took a wrong turn on the way to the men's room.
Marc Baron, whose title is Shepherd of the Lambs, was quoted by Vanishing New York as saying he had been faced with difficult choices. Either double members' dues, find a new home quickly or close.
The club has moved several times during its history. It spent many years at 128 West 44th Street, but was forced to move in the 1970s when it found itself unable to pay the mortgage. The clubhouse contained a small auditorium, which was converted into an Off-Broadway theatre known as the Lambs Theatre, even though it was not run by the Lambs. A restaurant on the site known as the Lambs Club Restaurant also is similarly not affiliated with the Lambs proper and is unaffected by the Lambs lease issue. The building was converted into the Chatwal Hotel in 2011.