NEW YORK – The biggest clue that New Yorkers were going a little royalty-crazy was when someone stopped Tony Packwood on a city bus after hearing his British accent to ask him if he was here to see the queen.
“Why would I come here to see the queen?” he marveled Monday at the British food shop where he works in Manhattan.
Customers coming to Carry on Tea & Sympathy have been asking about Queen Elizabeth II’s upcoming trip to New York City, her first in 34 years. Though her visit is scheduled to last just five hours, her arrival today has sent some anglophiles aflutter.
“The Americans seem to be a lot more psyched than the English,” said Packwood, a Liverpool native, surrounded by shelves of specialty teas, Cadbury chocolates and ornate tea pots. A British-flag tea cozy and a mosaic depicting the queen hang nearby.
“We’re kind of brought up with it – it’s not that big an event. But you guys love it,” he said. “We see her every day on our money.”
Some New York residents were hoping to catch a glimpse of the 84-year-old monarch, who will be visiting ground zero for the first time and making her first address in over half a century to the U.N. General Assembly.
Law student Joey Pegram, of Brooklyn, said she wished she could see the queen – just like she did when the monarch’s grandson Prince Harry was in New York to play a charity polo match.
A love of British royalty was a staple at her American home growing up, the 24-year-old said. Her mother’s deep admiration of Princess Diana and her charitable works made an impression on Pegram.
“There’s like a one-in-a-million chance to be born with that,” Pegram said Monday. “Some people use it to do good, and some people use it to make scandal. And when people use their lot to do good, it makes me feel warm inside, I guess.”
Click here to comment on this story »