A few weeks ago, The Explorer’s Club, based on the Upper East Side of New York City, had an Exploration Expo. The idea was to get non-members into the club and showcase what they were all about.
Up until recently, I have to admit that I had no idea such a club was in existence, however, their members have been some of the most prominent men and women in our time. While I do not plan on joining The Explorer’s Club myself, though who knows what the future holds, it was interesting to get a behind the scenes look at their inner workings.
Established in 1904, the club, “promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. The Club’s members have been responsible for an illustrious series of famous firsts: First to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean, first to the surface of the moon.” ( The Explorer’s Club)
The headquarters was full of artifacts from years of exploration. But, before we got the grand tour, we headed upstairs for beer, wine, and snacks. Here, we were greeted by a large polar bear, that was not only impressive enough on its own, but it growled at us as we made our way closer to it. Then, we mingled around a bit before listening to several of the members’ presentations on their recent expeditions, before having the chance to take a tour of the club’s facilities.
Boasting 114 stained glass windows, the club’s headquarters was once the home of the family who created the Singer Sewing Machine, and it’s exactly what you’d picture the headquarters of an explorer’s club to look like, starting with the giant globe in the lobby.
This was definitely my favorite feature of the club, and it was the globe that Thor Heyerdahl used to map out plans for his Kon-Tiki expedition. Also downstairs, is a lounge and bar, where members may entertain guests; these rooms are also filled with various artifacts from previous members and expeditions.
Up one level is the club’s library, where cocktails were being served, and another room, where the presentations were. Finally, we headed upstairs, to my favorite room of the night, the trophy room.
This room is where many of the club’s meetings take place and it is filled with history, including artifacts from various explorations. To be honest, it took me right back to Africa. Except for the fact that the animals that I was getting up close and personal with were no longer living.
After our encounters with taxidermy, we headed up to the radio control room, and while it wasn’t much, it was still interesting to uncover what The Explorer’s Club was really all about.
We mingled for a little while longer, thinking about the history this old New York building held inside it and dreaming about one day being part of the club. While I like to consider myself an explorer, I’m not entirely sure that club would consider me one. Either way, it was great to be a part of it that night, even if it was only for a few hours one Friday evening.