Set off on the eternal trail of the Beat experience in the city that inspired many of Jack Kerouac's best-loved novels including On the Road, Vanity of Duluoz, The Town and the City, and Desolation Angels. This is the ultimate guide to Kerouac's New York, packed with photos of the Beat Generation and filled with undercover information and little-known anecdotes.
Eight easy-to-follow walking tours guide you to:
Greenwich Village bars and cafés where Kerouac and his friends Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs, Diane di Prima, Gregory Corso, Hettie and LeRoi Jones, John Clellon Holmes, Joyce Johnson, and others read poetry, drank, turned-on, and talked all night long.
The Chelsea-district apartment where Jack wrote On the Road.
Midtown clubs where Beat poets mingled with artists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and listened to jazz and blues greats Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday.
Times Square, a magnet for Kerouac and the Beats.
Columbia University, where the original Beats first met and began a revolution in American literature and culture.
Each tour includes a map of the neighborhood, subway and bus information, and an insider's angle on Jack Kerouac's life in New York. A must for Beat enthusiasts and critics.
Bill Morgan is a painter and archival consultant working in New York City. His previous publications include The Works of Allen Ginsberg 1941-1994: A Descriptive Bibliography and Lawrence Ferlinghetti: A Comprehensive Bibliography. He has worked as an archivist for Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, and Timothy Leary.
Each tour is easy to follow. Morgan tells you how long the tours take to walk (most are a couple of hours), how to reach the starting points by subway and bus, and includes a map of the route region, complete with labeled highlights, followed by a narrative that's a pleasure to read, evincing poetic talent, historic knowledge, and specific, precise instructions. Take the Columbia University tour, for instance. Starting on the east side of Broadway at 116th Street in front of Columbia's main gates, and lasting two to two and a half hours, it takes in the scene where the Beat Generation first appeared in the 1940s "like a wild seed in a city garden." Stopping at McMillin Theater (where Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, and Peter Orlovsky performed a poetry reading on February 5, 1959), Columbia Bookstore (site of a Ginsberg vision that led to his book The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg), and Low Library Plaza (site of many early beat photos), the tour continues by St. Paul's Chapel, Hamilton Hall, Butler Library, and the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, passes the room Ginsberg took in 1948, the 1944 domicile of the Kerouacs and Joan Vollmer Adams, and the brick apartment building where the Kerouacs lived with Joan Adams, then continues by Riverside Park, the West End Bar, the Yorkshire Residence Club, and an apartment where William S. Burroughs once lived. There are 23 sites in all. Morgan explains each site's Beat significance, including quotes from poems and novels that allude to it. Morgan details nine such walks, taking in Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Queens, Yonkers, and the Bronx. With a who's who of Beat personalities and dozens of historic photos, The Beat Generation is as much a contribution to the literary world as it is a useful and enlightening travel guide. --Stephanie Gold