When it comes to highfalutin’ societies with strict entry policies, The Explorer’s Club might be the strictest. That is, unless you consider arctic expeditions, deep-sea diving, rainforest traversing, and space travel all in a day’s work. The intrepid men of the Explorers Club have been one-upping each other since 1904 (women were not accepted until 1981), accruing an impressive series of achievements that includes first man to the North Pole, South Pole, deepest point in the ocean, and surface of the moon. Even President Teddy Roosevelt was a member. Though the modern-day chapter is more concerned with scientific discovery than eccentric travel it still maintains an opulent clubhouse on the Upper East Side as a gilded testament to the Golden Age of Exploration. Rife with PETA-enraging but undeniably handsome taxidermy (we’re talking bears and lions, big game) as well as portraits and artifacts that tell the stories of its most decorated members, the clubhouse could easily be one of the city’s best museums if it wasn’t so hard to get into — pricey galas and panels are generally the only point of public access. But today you’re in luck as Atlas Obscura hosts a special guided tour of the premises — don’t miss this rare opportunity to do some exploring of your own.
Fri., Aug. 22, 11 a.m., 2014
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 20, 2014