Tag Archives: Sherpas
Who ever said New York doesn’t have everything? Now that Sherpas have moved en masse from the Himalayas to New York City, it only makes sense the Himalayas should follow suit. After all, the great range has around 100 peaks that soar above 7,000 meters; New York City has some 35 high-rise buildings that soar over 700′; ambition itself dwells here! (OK, so do giant rats, and toxic preschools). In the spirit of reaching higher, though, some very enterprising Hindu monks in Queens have been working on a remarkable basketball court-sized replica of the sacred range since 1994, nearly filling a former electronics warehouse in Woodside, scheduled to open sometime in 2008. Amid snowcapped peaks that rise to nearly 20′ are a dozen model train sets, model fire engines, and a few teal colored convertibles parked outside an ersatz American-style diner. There’s no sign of any yeti so far; supplemental oxygen won’t be necessary. Via Gothamist. Related: Sherpas on Prime Time.
A few weeks ago I got a surprising phone call from producers at ABC News who hoped to turn my recent piece on Sherpas in New York from Outside Magazine into a segment for World News Tonight. After two days of filming in SoHo and Queens, the result was broadcast last night, the closing segment of Sunday’s show. Miraculously the interview with me did not end up on the cutting room floor. Enjoy!
Getting pretty frigid out, eh? Maybe not so bad if you’re from one of the coldest, highest, most dangerous places to climb on Earth. Four years ago I met–completely by accident—a Sherpa from the Himalayas in SoHo, who was once a high-altitude mountaineer, now working as a N.Y.C. cab driver. Anything’s possible in New York, I thought, right? Then I discovered he wasn’t just any Sherpa but a relative of Tenzing Norgay, the famed conqueror—with Sir Edmund Hillary—of Mount Everest, in 1953. Tsering Norbu Sherpa and I became friends, and soon I found out that some 2,500 of his fellow Sherpas from the Himalayas have fled the war-torn region to live in N.YC., Queens to be precise. Beginning in 2003, I began reporting a story to explain this exodus-in-progress from the world’s highest place to the asphalt canyons of New York. The result, “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Hale, Hearty, Tough-As-Nails, Acclimatized-at-Birth Mountain People…”, was just published in the November, 2007 issue of Outside Magazine (on newsstands now). In PDF form here, or online. In the same issue, I’ve got a review of STEEP, arguably the most ambitious big-mountain skiing movie ever made, and the tale of a man who decided to take incredibly rash measures to save himself from drowning.