Snowshoeing Through Sewers: Adventures in New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia

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1994 Hardcover New

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When Daniel Boone heard a neighbor's dog bark, he moved West. But when there's no Wild West left, where is adventure to be found? Michael Aaron Rockland looks for adventure in the megalopolis, "not where no one has been but where no one wishes to go . . . across traffic-clogged cities, the parking lots of wall-to-wall suburban malls, and the sinister waterways that seep through rusting industrial sites."

In these ten alternately poetic and comic tales of adventure in the New York/Philadelphia corridor, the most densely populated chunk of America, Rockland walks and bikes areas meant only for cars and paddles through waters capable of dissolving canoes. He hikes the length of New York's Broadway, camps in New York City, treks across Philadelphia, pedals among the tractor trailers of Route 1 in New Jersey, and paddles around Manhattan and through the dark tunnels under Trenton.

Whereas Henry David Thoreau built his cabin on Walden Pond to get out of town, for Rockland, the challenge is to head into town. As he writes, "in the late twentieth century, a weed and trash-filled city lot . . . may be a better place than the wilderness to contemplate one's relationship to nature."

In these 10 alternately poetic and comic tales set in the New York/Philadelphia corridor--the most densely populated chunk of America--the author of Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike looks for adventure in the megapolis, "not where no one has been but where no one wishes to go."

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Editorial Reviews

author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig

Rockland isn't just 'observing' America objectively, he's in it, all the way, fighting the old clichTs with jokes and insights about everything he sees and about himself. It's a very refreshing book.
author of Freaks' Amour and Funny Papers - Tom De Haven

Rockland is one of the most exuberant men on earth and a raconteur of genius, and those qualities enliven every chapter, every sentence, every step of the way. Snowshoeing through Sewers is both funny and wise, and a damn good travellog to boot! One of the most unusual and entertaiing books I've read in a long, long time.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rockland (Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike) finds adventure and wonder in the most commonplace surroundings. Chair of American Studies at Rutgers University, he lives in central New Jersey and considers nearby New York City and Philadelphia as prime fodder for his quixotic wanderings. First, he intrepidly circumnavigates Manhattan island in a canoe. His other Manhattan endeavors consist of walking the length of Broadway (275 city blocks) in one day and canoeing from New Jersey to Manhattan, staying overnight on Ellis Island, a trip that is both hilarious and sobering. In New Jersey, he competes in the Delaware River Raft Race in the Snuffle-upagus; then, as he did in New York, he walks the length of Philadelphia and manages to canoe to it also. Rockland is an everyman and his escapades will delight readers. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The author (Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike, Rutgers Univ. Pr., 1989) has written a delightful series of adventures. Instead of following Thoreau's trail to Walden and solitude, Rockland sees adventure in unlikely urban settings. He and a friend circumnavigate Manhattan island by canoe. He bicycles Route 22 in New Jersey, walks across Philadelphia, and travels down Broadway from one end of Manhattan to the other. On the way he encounters what one might expect: difficulties in walking across a divided highway or bicycling on a freeway. He also encounters unexpected obstacles, such as kids throwing rocks at him and his friend as they were canoeing a creek in Trenton. Roackland's amusing comments reveal much about him while giving thumbnail glimpses of urban Americans one wouldn't find elsewhere. He makes you want to try the walks yourself, if you can stand the hardships. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.-George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813521152
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.84 (h) x 0.86 (d)

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