If you’ve ever been to Union Square, you’ve seen them: They chant, drum; sometimes they even give you a free copy of their scripture. Hare Krishnas are often shrugged off as an urban oddity on par with clipboard people, but what lies behind those orange robes and endless mantras?
“As the hour grew late and working people around Tompkins Square Park began turning out the lights on Memorial Day 1967, police asked several hundred music lovers to turn down the volume of a guitar-and-bongo concert in the park,” reported the New York Daily News. “The crowd’s reply … was a barrage of bottles, bricks and fists that left seven officers injured.
Police cadets reading “Howl” (Photo: Gordon Ball, courtesy of Howl!)
If Allen Ginsberg were still croaking around today, he would’ve just celebrated his 90th birthday. I can see it now– the old man and his expansive beard, its gnarls wafting gently at the rims of coke-bottle glasses. He’d invariably be rocking sandals (whatever to the people locking eye-to-fungi) while boy servants fan him with palm leaves, gently though, so he can still roll those double-sized fatty spliff-spliffs from pages ripped out of On the Road and intermittently flash people from underneath his dashiki. Inevitably, James Franco would be VJing a Howl ft. Grimes remix and everything, everything would be lost.
The Barnes & Noble at Union Square was packed to the gills last night, with a line already forming on 17th Street long before Patti Smith was due to appear.
Riding the escalator up, we saw kids crowding every floor, sitting amongst the stacks in the hopes of hearing Smith read, even if they couldn’t buy a copy of her new book to get a wristband and get into the seating area and be guaranteed a signature in Smith’s new book, M Train.
With the Peter Stuyvesant Station post office closing today and moving over to a retail-only location next week, it seems like a good time to post this photo we took at San Francisco’s Beat Museum — of Allen Ginsberg’s old business card. We’re not sure who has that number now — it just rang and rang when we called it (which, come to think of it, is kind of eery). More →