“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” With these legendary words Neil Armstrong stepped outside the relative safety of Apollo 11 and onto the as yet untouched surface of the moon

It happened 50 years ago and forever changed our relationship with the universe. The sky was no longer the limit. We had breached earth’s outer atmosphere and space became the new frontier.

The year was 1969. The moon landing took place on 28 July and was a significant step towards space-discovery, but it was not the only important event in the United States during that year.

Stonewall riots

Just a month earlier, members of the gay community staged a series of violent demonstrations against police following a raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York. The ‘60s might have been a time of heterosexual liberation but for the LGBT community in New York it was a time of continual harassment by authorities and a lack of acceptance in general. Stonewall was a powder keg waiting for a spark, and that conflagration came in the early hours of a June morning when the police raid happened.

Six days of rioting and civil disobedience broke out, protests involving thousands of people occurred, and a community was galvanised. Political activism led to the formation of many gay rights organisations and of course the modern fight for gay rights and human rights began in earnest.

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The month of June is now celebrated worldwide as Pride Month, to commemorate Stonewall but also to recognise the impact of the LGBTQI+ community across the globe.

Woodstock

Months later in mid-august 1969 the state of New York was once again front and centre in one of the most pivotal moments in music history. An obscure little dairy farm outside the town of Bethel became the site for three days of peace, love and music. Woodstock, the most iconic music event of all time, made its mark.

32 performances by musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Santana, The Who, Janice Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Joe Cocker thrilled nearly half a million peaceful music lovers.

There were massive traffic jams on the way to the farm, with the roads jammed by psychedelic vans and abandoned cars. With no way to reach the final destination many simply left their vehicles and made their way on foot.

There was lots of peace and love, hundreds of thousands of hippies in bohemian dress, and little regard for social convention. Woodstock was advertised as a ‘weekend in the country’ but it has become synonymous with peace, love and good old rock and roll. It was a game changer.

New York Explorer

Spend a week in the city that never sleeps, on Trafalgar’s New York Explorer.

Priced from R25 750 per person sharing for five days. This includes accommodation with breakfast daily, a welcome reception and two dinners. This incredible trip offers a choice of sightseeing such as a walking tour of Brooklyn (across that famous bridge) where you join a local celebrity guide to explore the vibrant hip-hop scene.

Also on offer is a behind-the-scenes walking tour of Broadway including a chance to get up close and personal with one of the performers from the hit show Hamilton or a guided tour of Manhattan’s West Side including the Meat Packing District.

Travellers who join the New York Explorer will also enjoy a city tour of the Big Apple, visiting Chinatown, the Top of the Rock, Central Park, the John Lennon Memorial at Strawberry Fields and more.

 

 

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