Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Fifth Avenue to the Sargasso Sea

Quick! Today is Jules Verne's birthday (183rd) and the Google Doodle is an amazing interactive underwater view. You too can be Professor Pierre Aronnax.

I had thought that Prof. Aronnax was James Mason, but was thinking of him in Journey to the Centre of the Earth. James Mason is Captain Nemo, and with a beard.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea has one of the best armchair travel quotes I have ever read. Not, as you might think, his descriptions of deep water caverns or terrifying ice shelves, but his useful information about the route from the Fifth Avenue Hotel to the Brooklyn pier where his boat was moored.

"The carriage, available at a fixed fare of four dollars, went down Broadway as far as Union Square, proceeded along Fourth Avenue as far as its junction with Bowery Street, turned into Katrin Street, and pulled up at Pier 34. There, the Katrin Ferry transported us, men, horses and carriages, to Brooklyn, that great suburb of New York, situated on the left bank of the East River, and in a few minutes we arrived at the wharf where the Abraham Lincoln was belching clouds of black smoke from her two smokestacks."

Urgency AND accuracy. I do love Jules Verne.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Brighton Zoo

We have been collecting pictures of animals from Brighton and Hove, which you can see here. More to follow soon.

(Ceci n'est pas un chat)

Interestingly, Mr JT pointed out to me that there was a real Brighton Zoo until the 50s, at what is now the Withdean Stadium, soon to be vacated by Brighton & Hove Albion. Further rummaging also reveals that there was a menagerie at what is now Park Crescent, although it only lasted a year from 1839. Although the 1990 Encyclopaedia of Brighton says that the lion and lioness on the gates were removed in 1987, they have since been restored.

Brightoners, are there other zoos I should know about?