Monday, May 22, 2006

Jack Kerouac's New York City

Painter-archivist Bill Morgan's splendid pocket guidebook The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1997) includes not only coverage of the Beats but also much of the loosely related Bohemian arts scene right up to the mid-1990s. The relatively inexpensive book gives succinct takes on people, places and events throughout Manhattan and its surroundings. Furthermore, it provides maps, photographs, and directions for eight specific walking tours that cover a lot of literary and related ground. Morgan also includes a helpful "Who's Who" appendix, bibliography, and index for ease and versatility of use.

The Beat Generation in New York pinpoints all sorts of interesting places, like William S. Burroughs' windowless abode at 222 Bowery dubbed The Bunker; Andy Warhol's Factory locations; including the one at 33 Union Square West where Valerie Solanas shot Warhol in 1968; and the marquee of the Varieties Theater at 110-112 Third Avenue -- "the same one below which Robert De Niro picks up Jody Foster in Taxi Driver" (p. 106). CBGB is included, the Hotel Chelsea, and the rowhouse at 454 West 20th Street where Jack Kerouac lived with Joan Haverty and wrote much of On the Road; he also composed some of it at Lucien Carr's loft at 149 West 21st Street. Morgan goes on to cover cafes, clubs, movie houses, restauraunts, churches, street corners, lofts, apartments, studios, and publishing houses with a gliding hand. Overall, his guide is a useful one for anybody remotely interested in the literary and arts scene of New York City in the last century.

Bill Morgan (1949- ) has worked as archival consultant and collaborator with Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Timothy Leary, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others. He has published extensive descriptive bibliographies of Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti, and also created a 2003 guide to the Beat Generation in San Francsico. In addition, he edited An Accidental Autobiography: The Selected Letters of Gregory Corso (N.Y.: New Directions, 2003), with a forward by Patti Smith, which looks promising. Hats off to Morgan, the Beats, and the Bohemian arts scene. For New Directions, here's their happening website:



Anonymous said...

Jack's the Man!

Luma Rosa said...

For that it says is a beautiful script of stroll for NY! Much more practical and useful pra you of whom pra me! Liked it link that I indicated? It has an excellent week! Kisses

Erik Donald France said...

Luma, your link to "Rapture Riders" was GREAT -- a big hit all around! Thanks again!

JR's Thumbprints said...

You got some great links on your blog. Also, thanks for the blog comment. --Jim

Anonymous said...

I agree Jack was great -- and model gorgeous in his day!