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“Sometime you can see maybe fifty ratty-looking junkies squealing sick, running along behind a boy with a harmonica, and there is The Man on a cane seat throwing bread to the swans, a fat queen drag walking his Afghan hound through the East Fifties, an old wino pissing against an El post, a radical Jewish student giving out leaflets in Washington Square.”

– William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

“I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train.”

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

It is a surreal experience for a Burroughs fan to step out of the Washington Square subway station. The feel of the ground trembling under foot is a universal sensation that connects the reader, or in this case, the walker, to Burroughs’ Manhattan.

When Burroughs wrote of the subway station at Washington Square, he described dodging cops at numerous exits, and with a quick read of Naked Lunch, the memory of these escapades still feels thick in the air.

Read “Literature at Washington Square” here.


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