Category Archives: Flaneur

Proto-Flaneur: Laurence Sterne on Digression

Laurence Stern: “Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine;—they are the life, the soul of reading!—take them out of this book, for instance,—you might as well take the book along with them.” Continue reading

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The President-Elect As Frustrated Flaneur

At the end of his 60 Minutes interview last night, Barack Obama acknowledge that one of his biggest transitions as President-Elect is the loss of the simplest of pleasures: taking a walk around the neighborhood. What he says is heartfelt, … Continue reading

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Americans Drove 4.5 Billion Fewer Miles in April

I’ve never heard this metric before, although the U.S. Federal Highway Administration tracks and publishes it every month. Maybe it will become a number everyone watches nervously, like the Dow-Jones average, the Body Mass Index, or the weekend movie box … Continue reading

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Playing By Ear: Pearls Before Breakfast

It’s the flaneur’s dilemma. Do you linger on the street to savor the scene? Do you rush on like an automaton so you won’t be late for work? You aren’t alone. As Henry Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead … Continue reading

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Fashionista Street: April In Paris

[Source: The Sartorialist] It wouldn’t be Fashionista Street without a flaneur to savor the scene. Thanks to Scott Schuman for documenting spring in Paris! Cathy Horyn writes about Schuman’s and Bill Cunningham’s street photography in a recent On the Runway … Continue reading

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Foot Rage and the Blind Flaneur

As I have lost eyesight over the past thirty years, walking has been the simplest and most dependable solution to the functional limitations of my disability. When I stopped driving cars at age eighteen, walking was the mode of transportation … Continue reading

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Hear Voices? It Ain’t the Angels Singing

When a blind flaneur walks down the street, he’s likely to be taking care of business, paying close attention to sensory cues and landmarks. The last thing he expects is to hear an advertisement coming from somewhere inside his own … Continue reading

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Walkability in Toronto

Mayor Nathan Phillips and wife Esther claim Bay Street in Toronto on February 27, 1960. In his autobiography, Mayor of All the People, he noted that the street was empty on a Sunday morning. Christopher Leinberger’s report on walkable urban … Continue reading

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What Makes A Walkable Urban Place?

The term flaneur does not appear in the latest report from the Brookings Institution ranking the most walkable U.S. cities. Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin would shudder at the notion that walking and “walkability” could be measured or planned systematically. … Continue reading

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Introducing Flaneur’s Gallery: The Siren

The Siren, by John William Waterhouse (circa 1900) [Source: Wikimedia Commons] I worked on a small literary magazine in the 1970s with a graphic designer who was smitten with the intricate book illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley. I should rummage around … Continue reading

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