And then, well, a bike can go faster than any man can runand the man propels the bike." "But no one gives a damn about it anymore," says Bennett unhappily. And life's just never been the same since the old velodrome in Vailsburg, outside Newark, met its demise while he and "Mama" were living in Cleveland. "It was there (Vailsburg) that I feil in love with the Sport. It burned down and Nutley was a poor Substitute. Stale bread, not cake." Bike-racing or not, it would seem that there's been an awful lot of cake in Paul Bennett's life, and not a little of it heavily frosted. Among Typophiles, his friends are legion and, much as he disavows compliments ("I have an ivory-handled shovel for that kind of stufF"), Bennett is the sort of man who likes to have people think well of him. Around the office he always has a sweet word for his subordinates. To the secretary on whether or not the garage will be open past six, it's "Will you check for me, like a lamb?" To the designer who works over-time, "Still here, boy?" To the elevator Operator, "Thanks, Tom," and to the doorman, "Goodnight, John." He tries to leave his office just late enough to miss the bumper-to-bumper traffic en route to Jackson Heights, where he and "Mama" have lived in a co-operative apartment house "ever since Don was a baby." Driving daily through Brooklyn, he ruminates a bit on fate. "Yes, I was born here but I hardly know the place. It's got a lot of color to it, though. Now we're passing through the Greenpoint district, old tenements and cold-water flats. See those ailanthus trees? There's one growing right out of the God- damned yard. This is where Betty Smith's tree grew in Brooklyn, you know." Bennett can wax graphic about Brooklyn but becomes nostalgic over Cleveland, "a citybut with all the pleasantries of a small town," and Santa Barbara, "up on a hill where you look out at the ocean. I like to lie in the sun and dig my feet in the sand." "New York is a wonderful city, an exciting place, but that's about all you can say for it." The boy from Brooklyn who never lived in Brooklyn looked out at the Manhattan skyline and added, "It's also the world center for typography, and that is the main interest of my life, professionally and personally." A feckless motorist cut in suddenly from the inside lane. Smoothly, Paul Bennett hit the brakes. "Bd!" he said. Typophiles, 1951. Left to right, Frank Powersjames Hendrickson, George McKay, Lewis White, Bennett, Philip Duschnes, O. Alfred Dickman and Fred Melcher. 1 6

Print Magazine en | 1953 | | page 18