Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #94

94 Jack KerouacJack Kerouac (1922 – 1969)

The Patron Saint of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac attended Columbia University and played football at Baker Field, meeting and becoming friends with the other Beats whose fictional representatives would populate his novels. But to soak up Kerouac’s New York, you really need to go to Greenwich Village, subject of his poems, Bleecker Street Blues, MacDougal Street Blues, and many others. At the intersection of those very streets, he read to friends and strangers at the Café San Remo (now a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf). Happily, White Horse Tavern, Kettle of Fish, and Caffé Reggio – all Kerouac hangouts – still stand and are relatively unchanged. But, as is so often the case, Kerouac’s greatest contribution to New York culture is not his own work, but the work he inspired in countless others. How many young writers have read “What’s Times Square doing there anyway? Might as well enjoy it. Greatest city the world has ever seen,” and come to New York to try it out for themselves.

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