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.

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