Take on America, On the Road
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Ever wanted to pack up and hit the highway, beat style? TNS looks at some of the locations to take your own American road trip along the lines of that made by Jack Kerouac’s restless hero Sal Paradise. So get behind a wheel of an automobile, check the fuel gauge and be prepared to rack up some serious mileage on your sojourn to rediscover the unbridled expanses and freedom of America. New York City From the gleaming palatial apartments of Manhattan’s Upper East Side to Brooklyn’s warehouse lofts packed with downtrodden artists, the immense New York City seems built to encapsulate the diversity of the bulging continent rolling out from the Atlantic. For Kerouac, NYC was the lofty platform to bolt from; becoming the archetypal traveller with the breadth of America at his feet. And on his many journeys between 1947 and 1950 which inspired On the Road, New York was also his homecoming, as his family and the Beat contingent constantly welcomed him back. The city still glistens with grandeur and brims with vibrancy today, and it’ll be tough to drag yourself away from this imperial metropolis and onto the road. Chicago The skyscrapers reach even higher (and the pizzas deeper) here than in New York, and the hard-boiled attitude of the Windy City’s residents may stem from the fierce draughts cutting between the towers downtown. During the Great Depression, the city’s reputation for jazz climbed as quickly as the skyline did, although when Kerouac stopped by, he claimed the scene there was stagnating before greats like Miles Davis passed through to reinvigorate the genre. With an unerring tough love for their sports (be it when the White Sox, Cubs or Bears are playing), an impassioned music history and vociferous political voices (Obama being the recent alumni of note), you have to admire the punchy nature of Chi-town’s inhabitants. Memphis
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