This club is more than 100 years old and a popular hangout for media types. The Explorer's Club was formed in 1904 by Henry Collins Walsh, when he invited a group of buds to create a club "to encourage explorers in their work by evincing interest and sympathy and especially by bringing them in the bonds of good fellowship."
The nonprofit club began in 1905, and the founding members consisted of an Indian fighter, museum curator, Arctic explorer, mountaineer, archaeologist, war correspondent and hunter.
What makes the Explorer's Club a must is the fascinating decor created by 90 years of collecting trophies and junk from around the world. The six-story 1910 town house with its magnificent library is an "in" site for parties in New York.
For those who do not live in New York, there are 27 regional chapters, seven of them in other countries (Australia, Britain, India, Norway, Poland and Western Europe).
The club likes to lend out numbered flags, so that you can take them to some godforsaken place on some harebrained quest, and then throw a party when you return the dilapidated piece of cloth. They sponsor some expeditions, award medals (the Explorer's Medal) and provide local support to scientific and educational programs, all based on merit.
The club publishes a quarterly journal and a newsletter and offers a 25,000-item library, a 500-item map room and historical archives. Membership includes 3000 men and women, with 500 of them outside the New York area.
As with most of these clubs, to join the Explorers Club of New York, you have to have some type of experience in being "adventurous." Driving a cab in Harlem probably won't impress them, nor will big-game hunting trips, extensive travel without a scientific purpose or photography in remote parts of the world. But if you provide sponsoring letters, fill out the application form and fork over the hefty membership fee, your chances are good.
You can be a "fellow" if your exploits are published, or try for regular membership if you are modest about your exploits. In any case, it will depend on what the membership committee and the Board of Directors say. Also available are student memberships (16-24 years of age, over 24 if you are pursuing a graduate degree), and corporate memberships. - Robert Young Pelton