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The Wandering Jack Kerouac

East 7th Street, 1953.

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac – Jack – is one of the greatest American writers ever. His classic novels, especially The Town and the City (pub. 1950) and On the Road (pub. 1957), were read, shared, and debated widely during the critical period between WWII and the Vietnam War. Unsurprisingly, Dylan, Lennon, The Dead, and many other rock musicians from the 1960s credit Kerouac for influencing their music.

I've always been fascinated by how renowned writers find inspiration for the classics. Here is one answer. Allen Ginsberg, a fellow beat writer, inscribed this classic photo of Jack Kerouac wandering the gritty streets of the Lower East Side.[1]

Jack Kerouac wandering along East 7th Street after visiting Burroughs at our pad, passing statue of Congressman Samuel "Sunset" Cox, "The Letter-Carrier's Friend" in Tompkins Square toward corner of Avenue A, Lower East Side; he's making a Dostoyevsky mad-face or Russian basso be-bop Om, first walking around the neighborhood, then involved with The Subterraneans, pencils & notebook in wool shirt-pockets, Fall 1953, Manhattan.


  1. If you ever again doubt the utility of capturing notes in the moment, remember this gem would have been lost in the beautiful, warped mind of Allen Ginsberg. ↩︎