Ken Jackson, Columbia University Professor, Teaches NYC History on All-Night Bike Ride

For 37 years, Columbia University historian Ken Jackson has taught a session of his class, "The History of the City of New York," in an unforgettable fashion -- namely, on an all-night bike ride, which comes with the special added benefit of ensuring that none of the students fall asleep while being taught history. Columbia has released the video above of Jackson and some of his students talking about the ride, which starts at about 11 p.m. from Columbia and goes through Central Park, Times Square, Madison Square, Gramercy Park, Greenwich Village, Battery Park, Wall Street, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Brooklyn Heights, with a "history of New York City's people and places" taught during stops via megaphone.

The most recent ride, which some 250 students participated in, along with volunteer mechanics and an ambulance, just in case, was held on September 22 and ended at around 5:30 in the morning in Brooklyn (some managed to bike back to Columbia after). When he started the class, Jackson picked biking over walking tours because the streets were too crowded -- now it's one of the most popular classes in the University and the ride requires a permit from the NYPD, because it crowds the streets with bikers. (Note: helmets, but not bike lane use.)

Where do we sign up?

Prof. Ken Jackson's History Class Pedals Through the New York Night [Columbia]

[JDoll / @thisisjendoll]

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2 comments
Helen Lange
Helen Lange

Yes, occasionally.  However, on a daily basis, we have to somehow make sure that EVERY child has Every day eggs, milk and oatmeal with apples for breakfast and vegetable soup with a sandwich for lunch.  Children from families receiving food stamps could pay monthly with a food stamp card for these nutritious two meals per day. This would avoid junk buying and eating in a hurry that cause drowsiness.

Jamie P
Jamie P

This class is one of the major selling points on the tours Columbia gives prospective students and I wanted to take it SO BADLY. Unfortunately, this guy took a sabbatical for my entire Columbia career so I never had a chance. NOW I'M ANGRY ALL OVER AGAIN.

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