The Beat Generation of Greenwich Village and Beyond


“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.                         




Gregory CorsoCafe Wha? Greenwich Village




Beatnik Greenwich VillageBeatnik


Jack Kerouac


Don Stevens Beatnikjack kerouac


Beatnik Greenwich Village


beatnikBeatnik Dick Woods


Jack Kerouac


Gary Snyder BeatnikJack Kerouac


William Burroughs Alan Ansen


Allen GinsbergNeal Cassady


Neal Cassady


Jack KerouacNeal Cassady


11 thoughts on “The Beat Generation of Greenwich Village and Beyond

  1. Good post. I love those pictures of Kerouac, but that picture of him by the radio might be one of my favorite pictures of all time.


  2. Great post… can anyone truely understand The Grateful Dead without knowing about The Beat Generation, Kerouac and Cowboy Neal….

  3. Damn man, I was looking for that pic of Kerouac in a high res like you got but couldn’t find it, the one of him in the white sweatshirt and the chinos. Don’t tell me the fucking LIFE archives, the one place I didn’t look!?!

  4. None of these are from the LIFE archives, actually. No Keruoac there that I could find. Not Surprising, it’s very staged and straight-laced.


  5. Hmm, a lot of those beatnik dudes look like they could use a workout. I could hang with those guys! Honestly, I think I could double for the guy walking out of the Gaslight. I’ll have to show my wife and convince her of how hep I am.

  6. “burroughs is in tangiers and I dont think he’ll ever come back”

    JP, need another lunch to discuss this post……but not the chili cheese fries bomb …..

  7. Your site (OMFG) is so amazing!!!
    I started looking at Johnny Cash, but I can’ t stop!!!

    (From Venezuela crossing to Paris, Texas)

    One day I’ll be in a blog like yours :D


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