McBurney School

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McBurney School was a college preparatory school in Manhattan run by the YMCA of Greater New York.

Among its alumni are actors Henry Winkler and Richard Thomas,[1] physician Lewis Thomas, journalists Ted Koppel and Gordon Joseloff,[2] musicians Adam Horovitz, Richie Birkenhead and Richard Goode, historian David Brion Davis, J.D. Salinger, and financiers Bruce Wasserstein [2] and Felix Rohatyn.[3]


5 West 63rd Street

"Established in 1916 as a part of the educational program of the YMCA of Greater New York, McBurney School commemorated in its name one of the pioneers in work with boys and young men during the latter years of the nineteenth century,[4] the first paid secretary of the YMCA of New York. For many years the School was a part of the education department of the West Side Branch, first on West 57th Street and then, in 1929, at 5 West 63rd Street where a separate portion of the larger building was prepared for the School. By 1935 the educational work of the City Association had increased to a point where a Schools Branch was justified. The direction of this Branch centered in McBurneys' 15 West 63rd Street building and provided for the operation of four, sometimes five, schools. This arrangement continued until, by 1957, increases in enrollment called for the accommodation of 450 boys. It was decided, therefore, to discontinue all of the departments except McBurney and the Evening High School and to prepare in 15 West 63rd street a proper setting for a college preparatory school. In September, 1958, the first part of the renovation was finished, and the building at 15 West 63rd Street was ready for McBurney use."[5]

Due to the construction of Lincoln Center only a block to the west, the value of the school property increased dramatically after 1965. In the mid-1980s the YMCA sold the property for residential development.[6][7] In spite of mergers and a move to 20 West End Avenue, The New York Times reported that McBurney shut its doors and auctioned off its contents on August 3, 1988.

"The closed school was the product of a merger between the 60-year-old McBurney School and the Baldwin School...The combined institution later merged with the Riverside and Carnegie Hill Schools, under a parent organization called the Baldwin League of Independent Schools... the organization paid $5.5 million for the four-story building on West End Avenue at 60th Street, spent $3.8 million on remodeling and moved in two years ago...the decision to close was made last week... the school's location - in a neighborhood of automobile dealers, parking lots and taxicab repair shops - had turned out to be a 'detriment.' In the library yesterday, bidders flipped through old yearbooks, hunting pictures of such well-known McBurney alumni as Felix Rohatyn, the chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, and Henry Winkler, the actor known as The Fonz. Mr. Giannone found the yearbook showing a member of the class of 1956 whose nickname was Dumbo. The name was listed as Ted Koppel, now of ABC News."

McBurney may be best remembered as the destination of Holden Caulfield when he left all the equipment of the Pencey Prep fencing team on the subway in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

Administration & Faculty


  • 1916–1918: Newel W. Edson
  • 1918–1952: Thomas Hemenway – also oratory teacher. (born Sept 10, 1889 - d. Feb. 26, 1969)
  • 1952–1962: Benjamin D. Chamberlin (retired Feb. 1, 1962) (died age 59, May 21, 1962)
  • 1962-1972: James J. Quinn Jr., Ph.D. (1922-1996?)[8]
  • Aug 1972– May 1974: E. Duane Meyer, Ed.D
  • June 1974-1983 Anthony F. Capraro III, Ph.D.
  • Late 1983 Mar 1984: Andrew Thomas Carr Stifler
  • Mar 1984–Mar 1988: Lawrence N. Tallamy
  • 1920: Adolf Augustus Berle: Head of “Junior School” (born 1866; d. Nov. 19, 1960)
  • Andrew Thomas Carr Stifler (1982–1982): Andrew Stifler, Headmaster at the McBurney School and former college counselor at the Dalton School; he now is director of development at Hill School (K-8), Middleburg, Virginia

Anthony F. Capraro III, Ph.D.(Yale PhD) is now President of Teach in Purchase NY and Chair/Founder of, a non profit corp to help,students who are minority, from an inner-ciy, or from low income families, attend college.

References in Popular Culture

In a 1992 episode of the NBC television series Seinfeld, entitled The Pez Dispenser, the McBurney School was the site of the piano recital given by George Costanza's girlfriend Noel, a concert pianist, which was ruined when Jerry placed a Pez dispenser on Elaine's purse, causing her to laugh uncontrollably. The school is also briefly mentioned in the book The Catcher in the Rye. The author, J.D. Salinger, had gone to this school.

Faculty & staff

  • Edson Fisher Scudder (died Jan 1, 2003): Chaired the History Department from 1953 to 1981
  • Robert Lincoln Litch: Physics and art appreciation teacher. Joined McBurney in 1925. Retired for the second time at age 76 in 1950 (he was 76 years old in 1950)
  • James Fisher-Northrop: Business manager in the 1970s (died at age 88, Nov. 1, 2003)
  • Earnest Barrett Chamberlain (Jan 22, 1883–June 1972): Taught history from 1920 to 1923
  • Owen Paris: Swimming Coach in the 70s
  • Carlos de Wendler-Funaro, PhD (Columbia 1958) (Oct 12, 1898–Feb. 15, 1985): Before becoming an entomologist but taught foreign language at McBurney; he donated most of his insect collections to the American Museum of Natural History
  • Francis H. Ingoldsby (died Apr 20, 2004 at age 98): A linguist, but served in nearly every capacity over 39 years at McBurney — teacher, adviser, coach, college guidance counselor, associate headmaster and headmaster
  • Alfred Carl Mohr (Mar 2, 1904–Jul 22, 2002): Dean of McBurney’s Modern Language Department; also had been a member of the Department of Germanic Languages & Literature at Yale (Bachelors from Yale 1926, Masters from Columbia 1932)
  • A. M. Black, head of the Social Science Department in the mid-1930s
  • William Haywood: Math Instructor
  • Earl Newsom: English and mathematics teacher 1923,4
  • Peter McCaffery: Teacher and Coach and co-author of the new McBurney Charter. After leaving McBurney, he served for many years as Director of Student Services at Boston Arts Academy and was the recipient of an educator of the year award from the Boston Public Schools in 2010.[9]
  • Richard (“Dick”) I. Mayes ’52 (died Mar 15, 1992): Teacher
  • Donald Arthur Crane: Biology Teacher, 1960s (now director of govt relations at W.R. Grace?)
  • Hudson Bowman: History Teacher, 1940s
  • Rev. Robert Howell Schumann (died age 56, Jan 7, 1977): English Department Chairman & Priest at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 139 West 46th Street
  • William F. Deme (Jun 18, 1913–Dec 23, 1974): Dean of Students
  • Mr Walter Stewart Liggett, taught English in the 60's. Died May 1999.
  • Mr Hartman, taught Biology in the 60-70's.
  • Donald Rock, Music teacher and Chorus Director, 1950s-1970s. Later founder and director of the Gotham Gay Men's Chorus and the Stonewall Chorale.
  • Thomas Gerald Monaco, PhD (Dayton 2003) (at McBurney 13 years): Coached football, wrestling & baseball, taught history and handled AD duties (now Upper Division Director at Summit County Day School, Cincinnati). He left McBurney as Head Football Coach after the 1980 season. Assistant coaches Rick Starace and Joe Puggelli became Co-Head Football Coaches. Football was started in 1964 by Head Coach, Tony Capraro, who became Headmaster after returning to Yale in 1966 for graduate work and as Head of the Scholar/Athlete admission program.
  • Bob Scully: Coach in the 50s & 60s, had Jason Robards and Joey Luft (Judy Garland’s son).
  • Joe Puggelli: English Department Chairman & Football Coach 80s (now living in Seattle). Joe was co-head coach with Rick Starace in 1981. Puggelli coached defense, Starace did offence, and both handled special teams. Puggelli was also editor of “Entertainment New York Magazine.”
  • Ingeborg Pederson: Chemistry Teacher
  • Reverend R. Mark Coonradt: Taught religion at McBurney 1962 to 1968. Also served as Senior pastor of Rutgers Presbyterian Church (died Jan 13, 1987)
  • Debbie Isaacs: Learning specialist (married C.M. Kaminer)
  • Samuel Peterson: Taught English. Also served as Headmaster of the Lower School.

Former Trustee in 1982:

  • Melissa R. Mather (married to John W. Kunstadter)

Notable alumni

  • Doug Waggener
  • Rodolfo Ruibal, PhD (Columbia 1955)
  • Ted David (Gluckman) 1963 ABC Radio News Correspondent, CNBC Anchor
  • Stephen Koch (who married Ellen R. Dickman Jan 14, 1989)
  • Dave Mugrabi
  • Peter Gold: trapeze artist / circus aerialist with Flying Vargus
  • Mary Raider (works at PBS) (married Richard H. Gowan in 1988)
  • Glenn Spiteri, A.R.P.S. Photographer ( Scotland )


  • John David "Johnny" Marks (1927): wrote the music to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (b 11-10-1909 – d 9-3-1985)
  • Orison Swett Marden: Founder of the New York Legal Aid Society and Founder of International Legal Aid Organization (born May 22, 1906 – d. Aug 25, 1975)
  • Edgar Dawson: Played tennis in 1922, 1925 Champion Swordsmen at McBurney
  • Lionel Perera
  • William S. Giovani
  • Holden Collier
  • F.G. McPherson (captain)
  • Albert P. Mitchell (class of 1922) (died age 75, June 6, 1980)


  • Henry Thomas Randall (att McBurney early 30s) (Aug 29, 1914–May 31, 1994)
  • Malcom King Fleschner (graduated McBurney 1935) (Mar 15, 1918–Jul 27,1999)
  • Jerome David Salinger (attended from 1932 to 1934) (born Jan 1, 1919)
  • Marion Beckett Howorth, Jr., MD (attended McBurney in the 1934, 7th grade – 1936 range, graduating from Choate 1939) (resides in Oxford MS) (born Dec. 5, 1922)
  • Jack Hackett: Swimmer in spring 1935
  • William O. Aalto
  • Robert H. Bendig
  • Robert W. Bennett
  • Archibald E. Blainey
  • Samuel S. Board, Jr.
  • William J. Eckhardt
  • Henry Felberbaum
  • Karl P. Fischl
  • Edwin F. Coffin, Jr.
  • Royal H. Christ
  • David Cahn
  • Warren W. Burns
  • Herman W. Frey
  • Charles Gilbert, Jr.
  • Russell M. Gilbert
  • S. Page Hancock
  • Robert A. Hutchinson, Jr.
  • Robert C. Judell
  • Edmund N. Janes
  • Robert Brown ('38)
  • Leon Quinto ('38)
  • Kingsley Colton ('38)
  • Gerald McLaughlin ('38)
  • Marry Lash ('38)
  • Nelson Samson ('38)
  • Wynn Kron ('38)
  • Warren Schwed ('38)
  • Ward Sheffe ('38)
  • Perry Griffin ('38)
  • Anthony Wollner ('38)


  • Martin Mayer (1943): Best selling author (born Jan 14, 1928)
  • Merrell Collier Elliott (graduated c. 1948) (February 13, 1930 – March 23, 2004)
  • Haynes Bonner Johnson (1948): Pulitzer Prize winning columnist (Washington Post) (July 9, 1931-May 24, 2013); Journalism Professor, Univ Maryland
  • Andy Wing (artist, b. 1931)
  • Felix George Rohatyn: Financier who engineered the bailout of NYC in the 70s (born May 28, 1928)
  • Frank Clementson Gordon, Jr. (graduated around 1941) (May 16, 1923–Sept 21, 1995)
  • Andrew Spencer Bruno (entrepreneur, b. 1932)


  • Ted Koppel (born Feb 8, 1940) Entered McBurney ’53, graduated 1956 at age 16) (ABC News Anchor) (Nicknamed “Dumbo” in the 1956 Yearbook) (aka: Edward James Koppel)
  • Carl Chiaventone Margate: graduated in the mid-1950s (died Jan. 10, 2004)
  • Alan Tobias (tennis 1956)
  • Loren F. Ghiglione (1959), Haverford Col. '63, Editor, Publisher & Pres. THE NEWS, Southbridge, MA.
  • Jim Giannone (1958)
  • George Joseph Collins (c. 1958): Former CEO of T. Rowe Price and avid yachtsman. Competitive Swimmer for VMI, played baseball (born July 31, 1940)
  • Joseph A. Wetzel (1952): Famous museum exhibit designer (Joseph A. Wetzel Associates) (born 1934, Brooklyn)


  • Alan Stiner (tennis 1966)
  • Robert Palitz (tennis 1961)
  • Ted David (Gluckman) 1963 (born April 30, 1949): ABC Radio News Correspondent, CNBC Anchor
  • Richard Thomas (born June 13, 1951): actor in “The Waltons;” attended grades 10 thru 12, graduated about 1969; parents were with American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet
  • Alan “Aleecat” Merrill (name Allan P. Sachs; b Feb 9, 1949): Rock Musician; attended in ninth and part of 10th grade; classmates with 1967 grads
  • David Rutenberg, LtCol USAF (Football/Track; Editor Emeritus, Air Force Journal of Logistics Grad 1962.
  • Henry Winkler (Actor) (born October 30, 1945) (graduated 1963)
  • Gordon Joseloff (Journalist) (born May 13, 1945) (graduated 1963)
  • Jason Nelson Robards III: Actor and son of the late Jason Robards Jr., also an actor (born 1948)
  • Bruce Wasserstein: Investment Banker (grad 1964, born 1948)
  • James R.Gaines (born 1947, grad 1965): Author, chief editor of Time, Life and People magazines
  • Paul F. Levy: Attended grades 11 and 12, graduated in 1968; Former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Stephen P. Edlich (c. 1962) (April 9, 1944 – November 4, 1989): Painter
  • Irvin B. Sherman, pediatric dentistry (graduated from McBurney HS early 1960s)
  • Metropolitan Methodios (Spiritual Leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston) (born Nov 19, 1946) (graduated c. 1964)
  • Lane F. Miller (1967) Senior Advisor for International Economics & Foreign Direct Investment, President George HW Bush [Bush '41]
  • Jay Sulzberger (about 1967) (legacy of the NY Times publisher)
  • Phil Weinstock (about 1967)
  • Robert Ackerman (about 1967)
  • Bob Froelich (about 1967)
  • Walter Pribble (about 1967)
  • Peter Dorn (about 1967)
  • Jonathan Singer Famous U.S. Photographer(about 1967)


  • Ivan Kane (1975): Movie Actor/Night Club Owner[10][11]
  • Bruce Reynolds (1978): Police Officer, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, End of Watch: Tuesday, September 11, 2001[12]
  • Michael Stimler (1978): Owner of Water Bearer Films, Inc., the oldest distributor of gay themed films in the world.[13][14]


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