In the late 1940s, a new counterculture coalesced around the writings of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs that embraced nonconformity, sexual liberation, and a bohemian lifestyle. Known as the Beat Generation, they laid the philosophical foundations for a free-spirited expressionism that would evolve into the broader hippie movement in the 1960s.

The Beats found their home in Greenwich Village, a then-downtrodden neighborhood of New York City with low rents and an insular but welcoming community. As described by one resident:

Like, man, if you’re Beat, where else is there to go but Greenwich Village, Earth? Like, it’s Endsville, man, you dig?

In this gallery, we look at fascinating images of what life looked like in the Beatniks’ New York of the 1950s and 1960s:

Ginsberg Curso Kerouac
Kerouac Holds Court
Gregory Corso Poetry Reading
Beat Generation
35 Images That Capture The Beatniks’ Heyday In New York City
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If you're fascinated by this era, watch this short documentary from 1961 about Beat culture in New York:


And if you enjoyed this gallery, check out our others on 1970s New York and San Francisco at the height of the hippie revolution.

Alec
Alec is the founder of the PBH Network and has become lethal at Trivial Pursuit thanks to All That Is Interesting.
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