31 literary icons of Greenwich Village

Streetview of 81 Horatio Street, where Baldwin lived from 1958 to 1961

Greenwich Village, specifically the historic district at its core, has been described as many things, but ‘literary’ may be among the most common. That’s not only because the neighborhood has an air of sophistication and drama, but because it has attracted some of the nation’s greatest writers over the last 200 plus years. Ahead, learn about just some of the cornucopia of great wordsmiths who have called the Greenwich Village Historic District home, from Thomas Paine to Lorraine Hansberry. 1. James Baldwin, 81 Horatio Street. Through his writing, televised debates, and public speaking across the globe, author and activist James Baldwin had a profound impact upon 20th-century culture beyond just the written word. He was part of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, as well as the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march. From 1958 to 1961 he lived in Greenwich Village at 81 Horatio Street, and for many years before and after that, he frequented and drew inspiration and comradery from many of the literary and bohemian clubs and cafes of Greenwich Village. … 4. William S. Burroughs, 69 Bedford Street. William S. Burroughs moved to New York in 1943, calling 69 Bedford Street home. During this time he tried morphine, met Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lucien Carr, and later became a regular heroin user. Using his experience as an addict, Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch, his most well-known novel, completed in 1959 after going through rehabilitation treatment. The morning after Lucien Carr killed David Kammerer in 1944, Carr confessed to Burroughs and Kerouac and then gave himself up to the police. Burroughs and Kerouac were arrested as material witnesses but were released on bail. Carr was convicted of manslaughter but only served two years jail time claiming as his defense that he was defending himself against the unwanted sexual advances of Kammerer. … 6. John Cheever, 76 Bank Street and 31 West 8th Street. Novelist, short story writer, and Pulitzer Prize-winner John Cheever lived at 76 Bank Street in the late 1930s and, followed by 31 West 8th Street around 1940. … He wrote for The New Yorker and also had stories published in Collier’s, Story and The Atlantic. The main themes of his writing included the duality of human nature. Sometimes called ‘the Chekhov of the suburbs,’ his work was mostly set in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Westchester suburbs, old New England villages, and Italy. …”

Streetview of 54 West 10th Street. John Cheever

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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