The Beat Generation of Greenwich Village and Beyond

Beatnik

“Like, man, if you’re beat, where else is there to go but Greenwich Village, Earth? Like, it’s Endsville, man, you dig?”  That’s a fair expression of the way the Beat Generation feels about New York’s Greenwich Village, which has survived assorted Bohemian movements through the years.  Now the Beatnik having his day and his hangouts are the coffee houses–any number of cellar bistros which echo with poetry recited in the Beatnik’s own strange language, often to the accompaniment of jazz.  At places like the Gaslight, which calls itself the Village’s oldest coffee shop, the beats meet to drink espresso coffee, (sometimes ice cream sodas), and hold weighty philosophical discussions of art and life.  Their beards, unkempt hairdos and strange costumes all express their rebellion against convention.  Beatniks consider themselves out of this world, but this new crop of Bohemians has gained national prominence, and even attained the status of a tourist attraction.  Many a visitor to New York would rather see a real-life beatnik than the Statue of Liberty.  –Original caption, circa 1959.                         

 

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