As we researched places to visit during our recent trip to New York City, the Headquarters of the Explorers Club quickly rose to one of the top priorities. Although it takes more than an appetite to travel the world to become members of the Explorers Club, just seeing the inside of the historic club was amazing. To become a member of the Explorers Club, you must have participated in some form of scientific exploration or field research as well as being sponsored by at least two current members. The club was founded in 1904 by some of the world’s leading explorers of the time and one can only imagine the conversations that occurred as they sat in leather chairs in front of the fire and recalled their latest exploits.
As you walk through the Explorers Club Headquarters, you are greeted with paintings and memorabilia that remind you not only of the great accomplishments, but of the harsh conditions that the early explores endured. As you walk through the entrance to the club, immediately on your left you will see a private, members only, lounge and bar with a fireplace and leather chairs. Above the fireplace is a painting by Charles R. Knight titled Woolly Rhinoceros. Just as one would expect from such an illustrious group, there is a plaque commemorating famous firsts achieved by the members which includes the North Pole, South Pole, Everest, Challenger Deep, and the moon.
The second floor has the Clark Room, which has flags that have been on various expeditions, the library with a large collection of books and a large painting titled The Rescue of Greely, which depicts the famous rescue of Adolphus Greely’s expedition that attempted to create the first permanent base at the edge of the Arctic Sea. Greely and six other survivors of the expedition were rescued in 1884 after being stranded for 2 years. Greely became the first president of The Explorers Club 1905 and the bell from the ship that rescued him, named Bear, is also on display on the second floor. There is also a terrace on the second floor with antique stained glass and bistro tables for entertaining.
With our love for travel and exploration, seeing the historic Explorers Club Headquarters with all of the history and paintings was one of the highlights of our visit to New York City. There are parts of the headquarters that are off-limits to visitors, but there is more than enough to see if you decide to visit. They are happy to provide you a flyer with their history and explanations of all of the fascinating artifacts and artwork located throughout the six-story building. They will even give you an application to apply for membership if you ask. There were not any other visitors during the time that we were there, so it is definitely not as well-known as most other locations near mid-town Manhattan.