Fly Me to The Moon
It's not every day that you get to see astronauts - especially ones who have walked on the moon, so when I got the chance to attend a gala reception at the Museum of Natural History celebrating the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing, I was ready to trip the light fantastic.
You see, 1969 was a big year for me. It was a time when truly amazing things happened - men walked on the moon, the Mets won the World Series...and I was born!
I've always been fascinated by astronauts and while I never aspired to join the space program, I have always been amazed by the feats of a few brave souls who’ve explored our universe. So imagine my surprise when I stood amidst a sea of New York elite marveling at two space pioneers - Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell. The event was held in honor of The Climate Project, an organization founded by Al Gore to educate the public about climate change, and it was sponsored by Louis Vuitton.
While you may be wondering what NASA has to do with luxury handbags, the president of the company, Daniel Lalonde explained that the company, which has been in existence since the 1860's, is synonymous with memorable travel adventures. Their ad campaign was photographed by Annie Liebovitz and features Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride in a truly inspiring image as the trio gazes at the moon from a beat-up truck. Of course, a classy Louis Vuitton briefcase is expertly positioned by Sally Ride's feet - further evidence that a woman always knows how to travel in style.
While we spent the first hour and a half people-watching - trust me the crowd could have doubled for the cast of characters who were featured regularly on "Sex & the City" - there were also a bevy of TV journalists and personalities in attendance, from Bryant Gumbel to Dan Abrams, to "Inside Edition's" Deborah Norville, to tons of CNBC financial reporters. I also noticed a woman wearing a really tiny black hat and a few more dressed to the nines in fabulous cocktail attire - one woman even wore a bluish space-like swing dress that was actually quite stunning. But I digress. We were here to talk about space - not cocktail frocks.
And so, at 8:30 pm, the astronauts took center stage on a flight of steps above the Rose Hall Center and from there, we heard Jim Lovell recount the triumphs of the early days of the space program. You may remember that Lovell was portrayed by Tom Hanks in the blockbuster film, Apollo 13 and uttered the historic phrase "Houston, we've had a problem" during that ill-fated mission to the moon. Next, Buzz Aldrin recounted his experiences in the NASA program as well as the lunar landing. "Walking on the moon was the high point of my life," said Aldrin, as he reflected on that moment in time captured 40 years ago. I'm sure the image of Armstrong and Aldrin planting a flag on the moon is still a high point in the lives of many who watched the events from their television sets or from the ground at the site of the historic rocket launch. Incidentally, the NY Times has some incredible retrospective articles, videos and photos of the first lunar landing.
As the event drew to a close, we were presented with reproductions of the New York Times front page story from 1969 with the memorable headline: Men Walk on the Moon. Sure, I would have loved to have also received a handbag or key chain, but I have a better idea. As future generations of astronauts embark on a mission to Mars, I think they deserve to travel in style. Nothing like a set of Louis Vuitton luggage to make any journey completely unforgettable.