OF THE ROTARY CLUB OF NEW YORK
On February 23, 1905, on Dearborn Street in Chicago the miracle happened - Rotary was born. The Chicago Club was Club#1. Rotary moved west and San Francisco became Club #2 in 1908; then Oakland was chartered a couple months later as Club #3; followed by Seattle #4; and Los Angeles #5. Rotary was on the move, but there was no Rotary Club on the East Coast.
The idea of forming a Rotary Club in New York came in a message to Elmer DePue in New York, not from Paul Harris but from Clarence J. Wetmore, member of the Rotary Club of San Francisco. Elmer was the President of the Eastern Division of the Cresta Blanca Wine Company.
In an effort to start the wheels rolling, Elmer consulted with Daniel Cady of New York who, as a close friend of Paul Harris, agreed to talk with Paul. Paul Harris dispatched Fred Tweed of Chicago to talk with Cady, DePue and Bradford Bullock at a meeting held on August 18, 1909. Six days later on August 24, 1909, the Rotary Club of New York was formed as the first Rotary Club on the East Coast. There were 15 charter members and Bradford Bullock was elected President. Bradford Bullock served as President for two years.
It is interesting to note that the Club's chief slogan was: "Rotary Club of New York: Composed of men who are old enough to know how to do business, and young enough to want more business to do.”
2) Advance the best interests of New York; and
3) Spread the spirit of the city pride and loyalty among its citizens.
On September 14, 1909, the Rotary Club of New York was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. The first lapel pin in the history of the Rotary was designed and made by NY Club member, John Frick on October 14, 1909 and worn by President Bradford Bullock from 1909 to 1911. The pin was presented to the club and is now on display in the Club office. This was the forerunner of the traditional Rotary pin worn today.
first permanent meeting place was the Hofbrau House. In 1917 the Club
moved to the McAlpin Hotel. In 1926 the Club moved to the Waldorf Astoria.
In 1929 a move was made to the Hotel Commodore and in 1974 meetings were
held at the Roosevelt Hotel. In every case, the Club's office was always
located in the hotel in which the Club met. In 1991 the Club moved its
Thursday luncheon meetings to the Marriott East Side Hotel, but kept the
office at the Roosevelt. In 2000 the club moved its luncheon meetings to the Princeton Club and at the same time changed the meeting day to Tuesdays.
The Rotary Club of New York participated in the founding of the National Association of Rotary Clubs in Chicago in 1910. The delegates from the NY Club brought to the convention a draft constitution, which became the basis of the first constitution and by-laws of what is now Rotary International's present day constitution and by-laws.
New York's President. Ray Knoeppel, served as the Chairman of the committee that rendered the final draft of both the first constitution and by-laws. Paul Harris noted "No one is in a better position to realize the great contribution the Rotary Club of New York made in the developmental phase of Rotary International than me."
Over 60,000 Rotarians from clubs around the world and the USA have visited NY Rotary luncheons over the last 88 years. Twice the Club served as host of the International Convention, in 1949 and again in 1959.
A prime interest of the Club in the early years had been youth activities with an emphasis on the handicapped. Today the Club shares the same interest, but also allocates its funds and energy, serving senior citizens, the homeless and improving the quality of Life in and around New York City.
A prized possession of the Club was the "Attention Bell," won in an attendance contest with the Rotary Club of London in 1922. The bell was from the British auxiliary warship, "Patrol No. 20," and was mounted on oak timber from Admiral Nelson’s flagship, "Victory." The original bell was stolen during a fire in the Colonial Room at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1978. Today's bell was obtained from the Rotary Club of London in 1992. The bell is also from a British ship, a submarine chaser, the "H.M.S. P20." It was presented to the club by Ken Standish, President of the London Club on June 17, 1992.
The Club's welcome song, Fellow Rotarians, We Greet You, written by club member Johnny Shays, was copyrighted in 1945 and has been sung continually since that time. John Shays died in April of 1970.
reveals that New York Rotary not only did the normal community service
projects that we do today, but we searched for the really big projects and
had a reputation for doing the big things.
1917, we contributed a dozen WWI ambulance to the war effort.
· Rotarians contributed $28,000 to establish a computer lab program at PS 175 through the purchase of 22 computers.
· Rotary Club, through its annual Golf and Tennis Outings, raised $8,000 for the Boy Scout's Handicapped Campers program.
· Rotary Club donated $6,000 to the New York City Police Department to purchase bicycles for its innovative bike patrol program.
· For the third consecutive year, the Rotary Club provided $20,000 to fund the Columbia Writing and Reading Project at PS 199.
· Rotarians, through the Blanket Day Project, were able to buy 300 blankets for the homeless.
· Rotarians purchased 800,000 recycling button for use by the New York City's Department of Sanitation for its recycling program.
· Each year the Rotary Club of New York hosts Policeman and Fireman Recognition Days. At these luncheons, a member of each department is presented with the New York Rotary Club's "Outstanding Service Award"
The Rotary Club of New York is a major contributor to Fraternite Notre Dame, founded by its current leader The Most Reverend Jean Marie Roger Kozik. Fraternite Notre Dame helps the poor through its missions in America, France, Cameroon, Niger, Martinique, Haiti and Mongolia.
The Rotary Club of New York Electronic Learning Center was dedicated on February 6, 2001 and quickly became the focal point for the promotion of literacy through art and technology for the young in Harlem.
The Rotary Club of New York is very proud to be the 6th club in Rotary, which now has grown to 30,000 clubs with 1.2 million members in 163 countries.
2001 – 2002 A Historic Year
History was made when Helen Reisler was installed, on July 10, 2001, as the first woman president of the 92‑year‑old Rotary Club of New York. The celebration included the New York City Police Marching Band, the Ambassadors of Peace Youth Orchestra, and an audience of over two hundred Rotarians and community leaders.
On September 11, 2001, history was made, once again, when an unprecedented terror attack took place on the World Trade Center in New York City. The destruction of the Twin Towers resulted in the loss of over 3,000 people including 343 firefighters and 23 police officers. President Helen, along with her Board of Directors, the New York Rotary Foundation, and the club members, rose to the challenge of assisting those in need.
The Rotarian Magazine, in a six‑page article, described how members of the Rotary Club of New York offered their time, services, and expertise in various professions to help the victims of "Ground Zero." Members delivered water, masks and gloves to the site, delivered and served food, tested the air quality, cleaned out debris embedded in the rescue workers' eyes, identified victims and offered grief counseling.
President Helen and Werner Kobelt, the New York Rotary Foundation Chair, set up a Disaster Fund, which accumulated over 1.5 million dollars, which reflects the generosity of Rotarians all over the world. An advisory committee of three trustees and two members was formed. They did intensive research to ensure the disbursement of the monies to the neediest.
Matts Ingemanson, our Internet Communications Expert continued to keep information flowing between the Rotary Club of New York and the rest of the world through the effective website he created for us. Our club meetings drew a constant stream of visiting Rotarians who came to present checks and offer support. Rescue workers and members of victims' families came to share their grief and for comfort.
In response to the hundreds of E‑mails sent by Rotary Presidents from every corner of the globe, President Helen created the "9/11 Adoption / Vacation Committee" with Jim Thompson as co‑coordinator. Members of other Rotary clubs as well as volunteers from the community, including the Police and Fire Departments, joined our own members. The program arranges " adoptions" and therapeutic vacations, offered by other Rotary clubs for families of 9/11 victims and rescue workers.
The Rotary Club of New York took pride in the fact that it was ready and able to address the most horrendous tragedy in our city and nations. It was done spontaneously, by forming a solid bond of unity between its members and the rest of the Rotary World, to emerge as a leader in the community.
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