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艺术品、藏书和照片:鲜为人知的纽约探险家俱乐部

更新时间:2019/1/30 20:25:07 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The secret travel club thats been everywhere
艺术品、藏书和照片:鲜为人知的纽约探险家俱乐部

Amid the neon-lit diners and coffee shops of New York’s Upper East Side sits a townhouse that’s a world away from the fast-paced drama of Manhattan. In sight of Central Park, but not as far north as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it is just one of many such houses on a street full of elite mansions and enviable residences. No sightseeing map would direct you to East 70th Street, and it’s routinely bypassed by cab drivers, commuters and pedestrians, all of whom have somewhere else more important to be.

在纽约上东区灯红酒绿的餐厅和咖啡馆中,坐落着一栋联排房屋,它与曼哈顿快节奏的激情生活仿佛不在同一个世界。这条街上的高档房屋和令人垂涎的住宅鳞次栉比,它只是其中之一。从这栋房子可以看到中央公园(Central Park),但它又不像大都会艺术博物馆(Metropolitan Museum of Art)那么靠北。没有哪张观光地图会指引你来到东70街,出租车司机、通勤人员和行人通常也只会路过这里。他们都有更重要的地方要去。

But beyond the townhouse’s wrought iron doors, under a keystone archway, a world of tightly guarded secrets awaits. For this intriguing six-storey mansion, 109-years-old and a fusion of Jacobean Renaissance and Tudor architecture, is a social club for a clandestine group of travellers who have seen more of the world – and universe – than anyone would think possible.

但在这栋联排建筑的锻铁大门后面,在一个拱顶石拱廊下,一个被严加守护的秘密世界正等着我。这栋引人入胜的六层建筑有109年的历史,融合了雅各布复兴(Jacobean Renaissance)时期和都铎王朝(Tudor architecture)时代的建筑风格,是一群神秘的旅行者的社交俱乐部。关于这个世界和宇宙,这些旅行者看到的比任何人能想象的都多。

The deepest oceans. The farthest rivers. The highest peaks. Even the moon and outer space itself. All of it has been mapped by the club’s globetrotting members. And on any given day, many can be found in the back room, taking tea while plotting their next extraordinary adventure. Talk is not of the weather, but of moon landings and blow dart encounters.

最深的海洋、最长的河流、最高的山峰,乃至月球和外太空,所有这些地方都被这家俱乐部在全球穿行的成员绘制成了地图。在任意一天,你都可能看到很多人在俱乐部密室里一边喝茶,一边计划下一场非凡的冒险。他们谈论的不是天气,而是从太空登月到丛林吹镖混杂在一起的经历。

This is the little-known Explorers Club, the headquarters of one of the world’s most awe-inspiring field science institutions. Its illustrious list of current, historical and honourary members includes Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, who first summited Mt Everest; aviator Charles Lindbergh, who made the first solo transatlantic airplane flight in 1927; Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl who sailed his hand-built balsawood raft, the Kon-Tiki, from Peru to Polynesia; famed pilot Amelia Earhart who disappeared in the Pacific; Apollo astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, the first men on the Moon; record-breaking deep-sea diver Sylvia Earle; British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, who discovered 15 new species of animal; Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; Titanic film director and deep-sea explorer James Cameron; and primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, considered the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees. The list is mind-boggling. Small wonder the club’s in-joke involves an astronaut, aquanaut and speleologist walking into a bar.

这里就是鲜为人知的探险家俱乐部的总部。作为全球最令人敬畏的野外科学机构之一,它的现任、历史和荣誉会员都赫赫有名,包括首次登顶珠穆朗玛峰的希拉里(Edmund Hillary)和诺尔盖(Tenzing Norgay)、1927年首次独自架机飞越大西洋的飞行员林德伯格(Charles Lindbergh)、驾驶自制轻木筏“康提基号”(Kon-Tiki)号从秘鲁抵达波利尼西亚的挪威探险家海尔达尔(Thor Heyerdahl)、在飞越太平洋期间失踪的著名飞行员埃尔哈特(Amelia Earhart)、包括完成人类首次阿波罗(Apollo)登月计划的宇航员奥尔德林(Buzz Aldrin)和阿姆斯特朗(Neil Armstrong)、打破纪录的深海潜水员厄尔(Sylvia Earle)、发现15个新的动物物种的英国古人类学家李基(Mary Leakey)、亚马逊首席执行官贝佐斯(Jeff Bezos)、喜欢深海探险的电影《泰坦尼克号》(Titanic)导演卡梅隆(James Cameron)、被认为是世界上最权威的黑猩猩研究专家的灵长类动物学家古道尔爵士(Dame Jane Goodall)。这份名单令人惊叹。难怪俱乐部的内部笑话会出现宇航员、潜水员和洞穴探险家一起走进一家酒吧的内容。

“There are millions of stories associated with this place, and sometimes I need to catch myself from name-dropping,” said two-time club president Richard Wiese, who himself is an explorer with more than 200 episodes of the Emmy Award-winning TV travel series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese on his resume. “The people who’ve marched through these doors created pages of history. They’re immortalised figures.”

“和这个地方有关的故事成千上万,有时候我得防止自己利用名人效应抬高自己身价,”两度担任俱乐部主席的威斯(Richard Wiese)说。他自己也是一名探险家,制作了200多集荣获艾美奖(Emmy Award)的电视旅游节目《Born to Explore with Richard Wiese》。“穿过这些门的人创造了历史。他们永远留在了人们心中。”

Now the club’s 44th president, Wiese was drawn into this Indiana Jones world by his father, Richard Wiese Sr, who was the first man to solo the Pacific Ocean in a plane. He remembers standing on his front lawn in Connecticut looking at cumulus and contrail clouds wishing he could be just as adventurous. By age 12, he had travelled to Africa and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro.

威斯现在是俱乐部的第44任主席。他是被自己的父亲、首次独自驾机飞越太平洋的老威斯(Richard Wiese Sr)引入这个《夺宝奇兵》(Indiana Jones)似的世界的。他记得自己站在康涅狄格州自家门前的草坪上,看着积云和飞机飞过后留下的尾迹,希望自己也能像父亲一样充满冒险精神。到12岁时,他已经去过非洲,登上了乞力马扎罗山(Mt Kilimanjaro)。

“I recall the first time I came to the club in the mid-1980s,” Wiese told me, while we sat at a table once owned by former member and US president Theodore Roosevelt in the club’s boardroom. “It was to see a lecture about black bears in northern New Jersey, and straightaway I knew I had found my people.”

“我记得我第一次来俱乐部是80年代中期,”我们在一张前俱乐部成员、美国前总统罗斯福在俱乐部董事会会议室用过的桌子旁边坐下时,威斯对我说。“当时是为了听一个关于新泽西北部的黑熊的讲座。我马上就知道自己找到了同道中人。”

Like the other mountain-climbing, polar-exploring, zeitgeist-defining club presidents before him, Wiese maintains the society’s purpose is for knowledge enhancement alone, not self-fulfilment. Its 3,500 members – spread across 32 global chapters, including the New York headquarters – are bound by a bond to push the boundaries of science and education. And these days, membership is predominantly taken up by oceanographers, lepidopterologists, primatologists and conservationists. Not wannabe Shackletons.

和喜欢爬山、探索极地、定义时代精神的前任俱乐部主席一样,威斯坚持俱乐部的目的只是增长知识,而非自我满足。俱乐部的3500名成员分布在包括纽约总部在内的全球32个分会,他们被一种拓展科学和教育疆域的使命联系在一起。目前,会员以海洋学家、鳞翅目动物学家、灵长类动物学家和环保人士为主。都不是想成为沙克尔顿(Shackletons,南极探险家)那样的人。

A case in point: this past summer, a group of club palaeontologists were in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert hunting for fossilised dinosaur remains using drone scanners. “They found dozens, if not hundreds,” Wiese told me, almost as if he couldn’t quite believe it himself. “Exploration for us is now less a cult of personality and more a cult of data. And because of that we’re getting better at finding the truth.”

一个典型的的例子是:去年夏天,俱乐部的一群古生物学家在蒙古的戈壁沙漠用无人机扫描仪寻找恐龙化石。“最后找到的没有几百快,也有几十块,”威斯告诉我,仿佛他自己也不太相信似的。“对我们来说,探险现在与其说是一种个人崇拜,还不如说是数据崇拜。正因为如此,我们越来越善于发现真相。”

It was 1904 when The Explorers Club was founded by historian, journalist and explorer Henry Collins Walsh and like-minded Arctic explorers. At the time, the race to the North Pole had brought the group together with a broader purpose to explore by air, land, sea and space. This saw the first meetings held at its original headquarters in the Studio Building at 23 West 67th Street. But as the club grew in stature, so too did its need to expand to house trophies, books and priceless artefacts.

1904年,探险家俱乐部由历史学家、记者和探险家沃尔什(Henry Collins Walsh)和志同道合的北极探险家共同成立。当时,为到达北极而展开的竞赛促使这个团队为了一个更广泛的目标走到了一起,对天空、陆地、海洋和太空进行探索。在此期间,俱乐部在位于西67街23号Studio Building的旧址举行了早期会议。但随着俱乐部声名鹊起,它也需要扩大规模,以放置奖杯、书籍和价值连城的藏品。

Enter American writer and broadcaster Lowell Thomas of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ fame years later. An enthusiastic member in the 1960s, he was instrumental in the club acquiring its current headquarters, once a private family home owned by an heir to the Singer Sewing Machine.

多年后,凭借《阿拉伯的劳伦斯》(Lawrence of Arabia)声名远扬的美国作家、播音员托马斯(Lowell Thomas)加入俱乐部。他作为60年代的一名热心会员,在俱乐部购买目前总部房产的过程中发挥了重要作用。这里曾是一处私人住宅,房主是胜家缝纫机(Singer Sewing Machine)的继承人。

“This place used to be about pushing dragons off the map,” said the club’s archivist and curator of research collections Lacey Flint, leading me on a fascinating tour of the townhouse. “We still push those dragons, but the club has become so much more. What really excites members is that we know more about the volcanoes on Jupiter than we do about the very bottom of our oceans.”

“这个地方过去主要是关于探险地球未知区域的,”俱乐部的档案管理员兼研究收藏策展人弗林特(Lacey Flint)在带我参观整栋建筑时说。“我们仍然在探索地球,但俱乐部涉及的领域大大增加了。真正让会员们兴奋的是,我们对木星火山的了解比我们对海洋最深处的了解还多。”

History is alive in the building’s upper galleries like few other places in New York. It isn’t just the taxidermy polar bear guarding the staircase. Or the sledge used by Robert Peary and Matthew Henson on an expedition to the North Pole in 1909 (now placed above a door in the Clark Room). It’s in the indigenous totems found by Michael Rockefeller on a trip to collect primitive art from New Guinea (while several artefacts were airmailed to the US, Rockefeller never returned and rumours persist he was eaten by cannibals). It’s in the series of framed club flags, once folded into spacesuit pockets and carried on every Apollo mission into space. And it’s in the artefacts on the desk of the club’s archivist that still need to be catalogued.

在上面的几个陈列室里,历史变得鲜活起来。在纽约,像这样的地方并不多。历史不仅仅是楼梯口的北极熊标本,或是1909年皮尔里(Robert Peary)和亨森(Matthew Henson)去北极探险时用过的雪橇(现在存放在克拉克室[Clark Room]的一道门的上方)里。历史还存在于洛克菲勒(Michael Rockefeller)在去新几内亚收集原始艺术品的旅途中发现的土著图腾中(尽管几件艺术品被空运回了美国,但洛克菲勒本人再也没有回来,有传言称他被食人族吃了);历史在一系列镶框的俱乐部旗帜中,它们曾被叠放在宇航服口袋中,跟随每一次阿波罗任务进入太空;历史还在俱乐部档案管理员办公桌上仍需编目的物品中。

Moreover, it’s a place that boggles the senses. On the day of my visit, Flint’s desk was taken over by a prized 17th-Century Persian helmet and a pair of Spanish colonial spurs. She oversees some 1,000 objects in the club’s collection, as well as a library brimming with 14,000 volumes, photographs, slides and reports. One recent acquisition is a century-old Akeley Pancake Camera, dating to 1919 and first built for rugged expeditions.

此外,这是一个让人感到难以置信的地方。我去的那天,弗林特的办公桌被一顶珍贵的17世纪波斯头盔和一对西班牙殖民时期的马刺占据了。她管理着俱乐部里的大约1000件藏品,还有一个塞满了1.4万册藏书、照片、幻灯片和报告的图书馆。最近收购的一件藏品是一部有一百年历史的Akeley Pancake照相机。这款照相机产自1919年,最初是为了充满艰难险阻的探险而制造的。

The townhouse is an intriguing architectural marvel in itself. There are wooden beams taken from HMS Daedalus (an 1826 frigate warship). A ceiling bought from a 15th-Century Italian monastery, plus original stained-glass windows inlaid with Tudor roses from Windsor Castle in England. It’s so out-of-this-world, in fact, it feels as if it could have been designed by Jonathan Swift’s fantastical traveller, Lemuel Gulliver.

这栋联排房屋本身也是一个引人入胜的建筑奇迹。房屋的木梁来自1826年的护航舰“HMS代达罗斯号”(HMS Daedalus),一块天花板是从一座建于15世纪的意大利修道院买来的,最初那些镶嵌有都铎玫瑰的彩色玻璃窗户来自英格兰的温莎城堡。事实上,整栋楼与这个时代格格不入,以至让人感觉它是斯威夫特(Jonathan Swift)虚构出来的旅行家格列佛(Lemuel Gulliver)设计的。

One floor up, past the Hall of Fame and the Sir Edmund Hillary Map Room, is the extraordinarily detailed Gallery. A drop-in visitor can see trophies of cheetah and lion from Smithsonian expeditions; a yeti scalp and prayer wheels from Tibet; a first edition of Napoleon’s description of Egypt; an Alaskan mammoth tusk, moose heads and stuffed penguins; a pelt from a man-eating Nepali tigress; and the remarkable ivory of a four-tusked elephant, a rare genetic anomaly from Congo. The horde of artefacts is so exact – so remarkable – that, at first, it feels like a film set suspended in time.

再上一层,经过名人堂(Hall of Fame)和希拉里爵士地图室(Sir Edmund Hillary Map Room),便来到了一个非常精细的陈列室。未经预约的游客可以看到史密森(James Smithson,英国科学家、探险家)在多次探险中发现的猎豹和狮子;来自西藏的雪人头皮和转经筒;初版的拿破仑描述埃及的刊物;一根阿拉斯加猛犸象牙,多个麋鹿头和企鹅标本;一张尼泊尔食人雌虎的毛皮;和一头有四根牙齿的大象的精美象牙,这头罕见的大象来自刚果,四根象牙是基因突变引起的。这些藏品如此精细、巧妙,以至刚开始会让人感觉像是一个处于时间停滞状态的电影布景。

“The risks these explorers took were crazy,” said Flint, pointing to an oil painting of Danish explorer Peter Freuchen that hung above the fireplace. Freuchen, she told me, wore a coat from a polar bear he killed, and once escaped an ice cave using frozen excrement as an improvised dagger. “These were people who would amputate their own foot. They were rock stars of their age and their stories are just as radical. Some unearthed burial grounds of ancient kings, while others travelled to the Arctic with a full tea service or crossed a desert with a camel carrying a full-size writing desk. Unbelievable, isn’t it?”

“这些探险家所冒的风险惊人,”弗林特指着挂在壁炉上方的一幅丹麦探险家弗洛伊肯(Peter Freuchen)的油画说。她告诉我,弗洛伊肯穿的一件外套是用他杀死的一头北极熊做成的,有一次他还用冻硬的粪便当临时匕首,逃出了一个冰穴。“这是些会自行截肢的人。他们是所处时代的摇滚明星,他们的故事也同样激进。有些人挖开了古代国王的墓穴,还有些人带着全套茶具去了北极,或是用一头骆驼载着标准尺寸的书桌穿越沙漠。难以置信,对吧?”

Members’ adventures are just as inspiring today. Archaeologist Joan Breton Connelly – aka ‘Indiana Joan’ – continues to dig for clues at a Cypriot temple built by Cleopatra that she discovered, while deep-sea explorer Jennifer Arnold’s passion is diving for megalodon teeth.

今天,探险家俱乐部成员的冒险同样鼓舞人心。考古学家康奈利(Joan Breton Connelly),又名“印第安纳·琼”(Indiana Joan),仍在塞浦路斯她发现的一座由克利奥帕特拉(Cleopatra,古埃及女王,俗称埃及艳后)建造的神庙里挖掘线索,深海探险家阿诺德(Jennifer Arnold)则热衷于潜水寻找巨齿鲨的牙齿。

To visit the club – possible for around $25 during the society’s weekly public lectures – is to experience an expense of spirit most people can only dream of. While the world of the explorer is changing, the club’s president believes it is a golden era for members – particularly in the fields of palaeontology, anthropology and space exploration.

可在俱乐部每周的公开演讲期间花25美元左右参观俱乐部,就是经历一种大部分人都只能在梦中实现的高潮。尽管探险世界正在发生变化,但探险家俱乐部的主席认为,这是会员们的黄金时代,尤其是在古生物学、人类学和太空探索领域。

With evolution comes opportunity and time for reflection, Wiese told me, and over the next few months, the club will undertake one of its most ambitious projects to date: to bring together the largest ever gathering of moon walkers and Apollo astronauts to celebrate 50 years since the Moon landing in July 1969.

威斯告诉我,演变带来了思考的机会和时间。在接下来的几个月里,俱乐部将进行迄今为止最宏伟的项目之一:举行有史以来最大的登月者和阿波罗计划宇航员的聚会,庆祝1969年7月登月成功50周年。

“Our challenge is to stay relevant,” Wiese said, looking out the window. “In science, if an organism doesn’t evolve it’ll go extinct. Yes, we have an illustrious history, but our members are focussed on the future – on climate change and on animal and human preservation. So the more we can promote and popularise science to people that have curiosity about the world the better. There is still plenty of magic left in the world – and it’s our job to find it.”

“我们面临的挑战是保持影响力,”威斯望着窗外说。“在科学上,如果一个有机体不进化,它就会灭绝。的确,我们有一段辉煌的历史,但我们的会员关注的是未来——是气候变化,是动物和人类保护。所以说,我们越能向对世界有好奇心的人推广和普及科学越好。这个世界还有很多神奇之处,我们的任务就是去找到它们。”

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