Posted by: Manasa Vedula | February 27, 2010

Walking tour of Broadway entertaining, thought-provoking

This is not your average walking tour. This is Philosophy 101 of urban areas on foot.

“It’s nice to be a warm blooded mammal with you on this sunset tour … in February.”

These words were uttered by our tour guide, Timothy “Speed” Levitch. To say he is a character is an understatement.

We started our tour outside the True/False box office in a huddle. Speed said walking tours are the way to get intimate with a city. I thought, OK, this is going to be one of those “this building on your left was built in such-and-such year” and so on. Not at all. We had discussions as to why things are laid out they way they are and the philosophical merits of public places — and how sometimes they aren’t so public. We also get a rundown on the origins of Columbia and other things named Columbia.

We began the trek down Broadway and made a few stops, one by the bank with the “Gaudi-esque” sculpture in front of it and then again in front of the “city” building. Speed discussed New York City’s Central Park and how it shouldn’t be a public place because everyone looks so melancholy all the time.

“What kind of public is that?” Speed asked.

One of the biggest concepts he put forth was the idea that people don’t have agendas; agendas have people. This made everyone laugh and think at the same time.

This tour ended with this thought: “We are all visitors, we are all ephemeral, we are all tourists,” Speed said.

More walking tours will be held Sunday at 11:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. The tours meet inside the True/False box office.

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