From Food to Literary Ghosts: Part 2

Last week, some of our tour guides took a literary tour of Greenwich Village. (Make sure to read part 1!) The tour continued outside the home of novelist Dawn Powell (1896-1965). Sadly, she has been somewhat lost to history but was a prolific and influential author.

Hopefully the guides are following their own winter weather advice!

Since it was 20 degrees outside, the guide limited the time that they’d have to be exposed to the elements. (Note the prevalence of the puffy coat in this photo.) Here he is talking about Powell’s home, 106 Perry Street, which was also a speakeasy at the time. The tour guide recommended her book Wicked Pavillion.

Next, they stopped at Kettle of Fish (which looks like “kettle offish” in the URL). It’s not in its original location from the 1960s; now it occupies a space that was a different literary bar back in the day. The tour guide read them two excerpts from the famous On the Road because Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) used to be a regular there.

Kerouac in front of Kettle of Fish (photo
by Jerry Yulsman), and the same sign today.

The city is filled with rich layers of history, of culture, of stories. It sounds corny, but culture tours are such good reminders of this. The very streets we walk have been populated by many generations of artists, thinkers, people with their own hopes and dreams and concerns. I don’t want to get too sappy on you, so I’ll just leave you with one of my favorite Kerouac quotes:

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
-Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
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