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A READER'S JOURNAL
New York by Bicycle and Camera
ARJ2 Chapter: Reading for Enjoyment
Published by Fortunatus
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2019
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Join Kevin Dann as a "flâneur on wheels" — a passionate spectator as described by Charles Baudelaire in 1863. The bicycle fad didn't take off until the 1890s so Baudelaire's flâneurs were known for their propensity for walking, strolling along boulevards, and observing the world along the way. This is what our tour guide Kevin Dann has done much of his life. If you visited Kevin at his home years ago as I did, chances are you ended up walking with him around Woodstock, Vermont or Brooklyn, New York as I did on several occasions, meeting interesting people, pulling the rope on a church bell with him, talking to an artist doing screen prints, stopping for a photo with him on the Appalachian Trail, etc, in Vermont, or you might be walking the length of Fifth Avenue to the Marble Collegiate Church, coming back up diamond row, stopping in every small park along the way, visiting St. Paul's Chapel and hearing him talk about its famous pew for George Washington, and how Broadway, the street which runs the length of Manhattan, was famous for its ticker tape parades and has bronze plaques imbedded in its sidewalks to remember those parades.If the word peripatetic had not been invented by Kevin Dann's time, any student of philology would have coined it just to describe him!
Imagine the treat awaiting if you're interested in New York City. Sign up for a bicycle tour with Kevin Dann, and you'll have a flâneur on wheels at your service as you fly through the five boroughs discovering amazing places with him, freshwater flowing springs now mostly forgotten about along busy roads, a boulevard ride from Grand Army Plaza to Coney Island, a ride through Central Park as if on wings, or cruising the length of Rockaway's 5.5 mile bike pathway on the boardwalk, stopping to see the Ridley's Turtle Nests at one end.
The most famous bicycle mechanics could be the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville, who put wings on bicycle wheels and flew an early flight in their aeroplane the length of Manhattan, becoming world famous because of it. But the island itself was full of silver-wheeled bicycle makers of all types who fed the urge for cheap, fast transportation in the years before the automobiles. Fast, efficient, healthful, and no stopping for gas to fuel the bicycle, only food to fuel the hungry pedaler.
This book contains an overall map of Kevin's nine bicycle tours and a detailed map for each of the tours, full of places to stop and view on foot, usually a few feet from your bicycle. You'll learn how the bicycle and the camera came into existence at almost the same time and how people were soon finding ways of mounting their box cameras to their bicycles to take photos of their adventures. So make sure your Smart Phone is fully charged before setting out on a tour with Kevin because there will be plenty of photo ops (like this one) along the way from Staten Island to Coney Island to far Rockaway, including the obligatory selfie with the Master Flâneur himself.
For more on Dr. Kevin Dann's work, especially what adventures he is currently creating for fun and profit, see www.drdann.com.
Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne
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