Calling The Colossus

 Ed and Tenzing
The news that Sir Edmund Hillary had died of a heart attack at the age of 88 on Thursday in New Zealand didn’t particularly come as a shock to me—I’d been afraid of hearing the news since reading of his failing health over the past few years. But it did bring back a vivid memory. Reading the tributes (a few found here), I remembered a surreal afternoon about eight years ago when I sat up bolt-straight in a wooden chair, and, over a phone line, heard his voice crackle through the earpiece. “Ed Hillary,” he said. I nearly froze.

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High Plains Drifter

Himalayas in QueensWho 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.