He wakes up in the city that never sleeps – and he consumes many oysters.
Prince William, 41, touched down in New York on Monday for a solo visit – leaving his wife Kate Middleton, 41, behind and saying it was “so good to be back in the States”.
Then he got his feet wet – literally – during a visit to Governors Island.
After flying straight from Newark Airport, the Prince of Wales donned waders, a neon orange life jacket and a pair of bright yellow gloves to meet Billion Oyster Project (BOP), a non-profit organization that helps restore oyster reefs in New York Harbor.
The project cures oyster shells for a year, collecting them in part from dozens of restaurants such as popular NYC spots Crave Fishbar and Grand Banks. They are going through a long process of restoring the oyster reefs, which among other things help protect the city from storm surges.
During his visit, his first trip to the state since 2014, Prince William lifted handfuls of oysters from their cages and spoke to shocked students at the MAST Center Oyster Hatchery at New York’s Harbor School, whose meeting with the Queen was kept under wraps until Monday morning. .
The prince also met four restaurateurs, including Crave Fishbar owner Brian Owens, who has donated 3 million oyster shells since 2015 – and was taken aback by how interested Prince William seemed.
“I was surprised at how engaging he was and how many questions he had, and I think he had some good questions,” Owens said.
Ben LoGuidice, who works in remote management of the setting, reiterated that the prince was “very interested” in the process.
In his remarks, Prince William stated that “no one does optimism and ingenuity like the American people,” and further embraced the American spirit by referencing former President John F. Kennedy.
“I know our generation can take the bold steps we need to make the changes towards a healthy and sustainable world,” the prince said. “The challenge may seem enormous, but as John F. Kennedy taught us, we rise to the challenge not because it is easy, but because it is hard. And vital.”
On Tuesday the prince — whose visit is taking place during the week of the UN General Assembly — is set to meet with a group of first responders to talk about mental health. He also planned to attend the annual Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit.
However, he said one topic of conversation will not be heard during his stay in the state Sunday Times: his rocky relationship with brother Prince Harry, 39,
Although he will be just hours away from California-based Harry and his wife of 42 years, Meghan Markle, William does not plan to field questions about their apparent estrangement during media interviews.