Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited New York City yesterday. While the showiest part of their night may have been the presentation of a Global Environmental Citizen Award to the Prince from the Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment, we bet the most fun was had during the couple's visit the the Harlem Children's Zone. The Harlem Children's Zone, which includes the Promise Academy and other services and programs for the community, welcomed the royals with demonstration of an after-school investment program for kids, rehearsal of a scene from "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and a basketball scrimmage.
With politicians Lieutenant Governor David Paterson and Representative Charles Rangel around, the Prince attempted to shoot some hoops. The first was an air ball, while the next made into the basket to much excitement, making student Christopher Vasquez admit, "I would pick him for my team." And in the "Kids say the darndest things" category, we loved this exchange from the NY Times:
It wasn’t clear, despite the turnout of nearly 120 youngsters who participated in a tightly organized battery of activities for their English guests — including an investment class, a tour of the center’s health clinic and a math carnival — that many of the children fully comprehended the significance of their guests of honor.
“He’s rich and he rules in England,” Alhamodou Nimaga, 12, said of Prince Charles. And the duchess? “Oh, so she’s Dutch.”
His sister, Mariam Nimaga, was grateful for the prince’s presence. “In New York, we don’t have a prince or a queen, we just have a president,” she said, “so it’s really nice of him to come here.”
We are so using "Oh, so she's Dutch!" all the time now! And it turns out the Duchess is "addicted" to Sudoku. However, other people were less impressed. Robert Ortiz told amNew York, "This is a guy who has never had a real job in his life but is still making millions. We can't relate to that here.... [James Brown,] now there is a man who worked hard for what he had."
The evening's festivities at the Harvard Club included being feted by Meryl Streep and Al Gore. Prince Charles's remarks included, "Every passing year has seen further evidence emerge of the damage we are doing to this poor old planet, the only one we've got so far...that sustains life in such a miraculous and well-ordered way." The menu included dishes by Andre Soltner ("Maine lobster and day boat scallops en feuillete, with 'sauce à l’americaine'"), Dan Barber ("local seasonal hors d’oeuvres") and others.
Photograph of Prince Charles with basketball by Kathy Willens/AP; photograph of Prince Charles looking at Camilla chatting with the Gores by Stephen Chernin/AP