Prince Harry Visits NYC After Touring Storm Damage In NJ
On Tuesday evening, the prince was the honored guest at a Midtown Manhattan fundraiser for the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Inside the Four Seasons Hotel New York on East 57th Street, the prince was all charm with the celebrities and others in attendance.
“Prince Harry if he was a character in a movie he would be like ‘Iron Man,’” said will.i.am, who attended the event. “He’s a dude in ‘Iron Man.’ He’s a party guy. He’s a technology guy. He comes from royalty, but he’s a real person.”
The foundation bills itself as the culmination of the charity lives of Prince Harry and his brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate, CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported.
Earlier Tuesday, the prince, along with British Prime Minister David Cameron, stepped off a red double-decker bus before visiting Milk Studios in Chelsea as part of a campaign to promote England as a tourist destination and U.S. business partner.
With a view of the Hudson River from a ninth-floor penthouse, the prince and prime minister participated in a demonstration of 3-D computerized printing technology, including dolls that looked like the men.
Harry looked amused holding a likeness of himself in his British army regiment uniform, commenting on the detail of the beret and proclaiming the technology to be “cool.”
Later in the afternoon, he participated in baseball drills with Harlem RBI’s youth on the Field of Dreams on East 101st Street, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
Neighbors such as David Ramos said they were thrilled to see him.
“Prince Harry is a wonderful person. He’s done so many wonderful things besides him and his family. I just think it’s great that he’s in a community that has come from such a poverty shape to what it is now, and Harlem RBI has done a very, very great job investing in the community,” Ramos said.
Sebastian Segura, an 18-year-old coach at Harlem RBI, said he couldn’t believe he was playing baseball with the prince.
“It was a humbling experience,” he said. “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Plenty of others were also thrilled by the experience.
“He’s very handsome and a lot better looking than his brother,” one onlooker in Harlem told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
“He’s a very handsome man in person. I hope he finds my shoe, because I lost it,” another woman added.
Harry met some of the young players and even got some pro advice.
“It was great, great swing,” Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said of one of the times the prince made contact.
While dozens of kids cheered him on, the prince briefly took batting practice from Teixeira, making contact with all three pitches he saw.
“He’s a great athlete. I just said keep your eye on the ball,” Teixeira said afterward.
Earlier in the day, Harry visited Mantoloking with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, where some residents were flying Union Jack flags and one handwritten sign read: “Prince Harry please come back when we’re restored.”
Harry shook hands with police, fire and other emergency personnel and was presented with a Mantoloking Police baseball cap. He also received his very own royal blue version of Christie’s patented Jersey fleeces.
Christie showed Harry a spot where the Atlantic Ocean had cut Mantoloking in half, creating a channel to the back bay and taking out a bridge and houses. The channel has since been filled in.
“This used to be a house?” Harry asked at one barren spot.
Every one of Mantoloking’s 521 homes was damaged or destroyed by Sandy last October and scores of homes remain piles of rubble.
Christie posted on his Twitter account that he greeted the prince in Sea Girt, where Harry arrived by helicopter, “the best way I know how; with his own Royal Fleece.” Christie wore a blue fleece jacket everywhere he went in the weeks after Sandy.
The prince spent about a half hour in Mantoloking before the motorcade headed to Seaside Heights. Along the route, signs were posted welcoming Harry, including one on a laundry basket attached to a pole.
“Just to see Harry and get a glimpse of something royal, which is very unusual for the Jersey shore,” said Neptune City resident Jane Weingarten. “I think it’s great that the royals are here sending a signal of love.”
As the motorcade passed Lavallette Elementary School, dozens of schoolchildren stood on the front sidewalk waving American and British flags.
Christie led the prince along the rebuilt boardwalk in Seaside Heights where the two played a game of chance, tossing plastic balls at a hole and giving the prizes to children who they were teamed with.
The prince suggested to a girl partnered with him, Allie Cirigliano, 7, of Middletown, that she pick a blue penguin as a prize. But she didn’t want it. “Don’t listen to me,” he said with a laugh. She chose a Hello Kitty stuffed doll instead.
Harry also saw the Jet Star roller coaster that Sandy tossed into the sea. A crane was in place to begin demolition of the amusement ride.
Crowds of people gathered along the boardwalk for a chance to see the prince.
“I came to see the prince, obviously, like everybody else, but I also came to do some local advertising, let everybody know that Seaside’s open and kicking and it’s time to have fun again,” said resident Tim McAllister.
While in New Jersey, a reporter asked the prince what difference he felt he was making on the trip.
“Me? None,” he said with a laugh.
But residents of Jersey Shore communities begged to differ. They said he helped give them a much-needed boost.
“Everybody in town’s a little concerned. We know we’re not going to have the business we normally have,” said Seaside Heights resident Waldo Meads. “It’s nice to know everyone, not just the United States, is concerned about what happened.”
As the first royal to visit the Jersey shore in nearly 70 years, the prince said he was impressed to see the Garden State’s recovery effort, “Everyone getting together and making things right.”
“You can see how many people have out and everyone is working together,” he said. “It’s fantastic, really good.”
Before leaving the country, Prince Harry travels Wednesday to Greenwich, Conn., to captain a polo team as part of the Sentebale Polo Cup.
The prince began a week-long visit to the U.S. on May 9.
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