At 10:56 pm EDT July 20, 1969 Astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. He spoke from 240,000 miles away to more than a billion people listening on earth. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
That day my friend and I went to Central Park to witness the landing of the Apollo II on the moon. The event unfolded on large projection screens set up in the Sheep Meadow. The atmosphere was reverent and the huge crowd was quiet with uneasy anticipation. When the first images flickered the crowd went nuts and strangers were hugging each other and jumping up and down with excitement. It was an exhilarating place and time to be in New York.
The day before we had taken the trip to the Statue of Liberty, and done some other sight seeing and pleasantly tired after dinner had gone up to our room. We stayed in a hotel on Time Square on the tenth floor and could see all the lights and excitement of the street below. We were out on the balcony scanning the night sky because someone had told us because it was such a clear night we might be able to see Apollo II as it passed over.
Suddenly, there was a terrific clanging and someone running up the corridor banging on doors, there was a fire in the hotel, and we had to evacuate immediately. We ran to the fire escape and hurtled down the stairs, and tumbled into Time Square. There was about 800 other people all milling around wondering what was happening. Luckily it was only smoke in the kitchen and we all were able to return safely to our rooms.
I will always remember what I was doing the day the first man walked on the moon, how about you?
By the way I was probably wearing hot pants and high boots to Central Park that day. I remember getting quite a few stares. I was relatively fresh from London UK and North America had not caught up with the fashions.