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 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.)

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

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