The Cup Runneth Over: The Harriman Cup in Old Westbury, NY

As the season comes to an end, one hopes to steal a last day in relaxed celebration with friends; soak-in a few fleeting rays, enjoy a sip of chilled champagne, and commit to memory the summer’s fun before changing-out carefree whites and linens for studious tweeds and corduroy.  Since 1984, the Meadowbrook Polo Club of Old Westbury, NY has hosted The Harriman Cup, an Alumni polo match between Yale and UVA.   Dressed in their preppy best; students, alumni, friends and family come together—donning bow ties, blazers, go-to-hell pants and colorful dresses—for one last summer fling…a perfect ending to a tumultuous summer.

(Yale vs. UVA)


(I’m sensing the pipe will make a comeback this fall.)


(These boys seem to be channeling Vampire Weekend.)


(Stylish school-spirit, check the UVA patch.)


(The inimitable F.E. Castleberry striking the perfect balance of work and play.)


Celebrating over a quarter-century of polo tradition between the University of Virginia and Yale, The Harriman Cup is a polo match and social event commemorating the life of diplomat, polo player, and former New York governor Averell Harriman. The Harriman Cup was founded in 1984 as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of polo and supporting the collegiate polo programs at Yale and UVA. – (

(stomping the divots, a half-time tradition.)


(The go-to-hell pant was costume de rigueur.)


(Prep trifecta: boater. madras and golden.)


(Polo tailgating is all about the angle of repose.)


(Their day in the sun.)


A polo match is less a competition than a social event, a chance to come together and enjoy the sporting life; a life defined by ease-of-being and relaxed elegance.  The Harriman Cup exemplifies this aesthetic of leisure; spectators anticipate the match conclusion with the same verve as the awarding of best dressed.  It’s all in good fun, on a beautiful day in September, a reminder that it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you look at play.

-Erik C. Nelson

all photos © ErikCNelson


Categories: The Sporting LIfe

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