3. New York, New York, to take the Midtown Rush Hour Tour with Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the subject of the 1993 documentary “Speed.”
Why? Because if you took Walt Whitman, and Jack Kerouac, and Oscar Wilde and put them in the transmitter telepod from The Fly, and pushed the red button, “Speed” Levitch is the man who would emerge from the other end. Using his vast historical knowledge of the city, astute observational powers, and facility with language, he goes beyond simply identifying various landmarks to awaken the tourist to the multitude of possibilities that exist within them. Take this bit, for example, about Central Park:
The men who build and design this park are transcendentalists. To them, Central Park is a place to become one with nature, to focus on trees, to scintillate with grass, to stare into one anothers’ eyes. No sweating allowed in the original Central Park, no perspiration of any kind. Anyone you see congregating for the baseball game on the left, bicycling, rollerblading, jogging, they are not historically accurate. Anyone you see lounging in the sun, having a picnic, or kissing; They are historically accurate.
That’s a helluva value for the price of a double-decker tour bus ride. It seems from his website and Kickstarter project, etc., that he is still somewhat struggling to fund the cruise. It’s a shame there’s not a way to bottle that ability to enliven and inspire; he could sell it to teachers and make a fortune while simultaneously revolutionizing teaching, which, like being a tour guide, at its highest level becomes performance art.