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Patrick Fenton

Jack Kerouac's Queens - The Lost Years

Jack Kerouac's Queens - The Lost Years - The Patrick Fenton Walking Tour Travelogue e-Book.

The writer Jack Kerouac lived in Queens, New York for 12 years, the longest he lived anywhere in New York. It is a period of his life that has gone largely unnoticed, mainly because Kerouac, who died in 1969 at age 47, never spoke much to anyone about it.

My main goal in putting this map together is to make available to scholars, students and Kerouac fans for the first time a map that verifies the existence of these years, a map that traces the places in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill that is so much a part of his literary legacy.

These years, what I refer to as “the lost years of Jack Kerouac’s Life“, because up until recently, there was little written about them, are all part of the puzzle of who he really was. When I first went out to Ozone Park in 1989 on assignment for New York Newsday, the only person who knew he ever lived there was Jimmy Breslin.

“I knew Jack for many years , and I only heard him mention Queens once,” said the musician David Amram. “One night in the late 50’s I was riding in a car on the Long Island Expressway with him, and as we passed by Queens, he gave this little gesture with his hand. It was a French Canadian sort of thing. And he said,’ I used to live over there.’ ”

“We spent a lot of time walking around Richmond Hill. Jack loved to stop in some of the rough Neighborhood bars where he felt at home.”

Joan Haverty, his late wife.

During his 12 years living in Queens, Kerouac, with a dime-store notebook in his back pocket, frequently roamed the streets from Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica to Cross Bay Boulevard in Ozone Park to Rockaway, where he liked to stare out at the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Take the E Train to Suthphin Boulevard, and walk to the Long Island R.R. underpass and turn right along R.R. embankment until you get across Van Wyck Expressway and my corner.” (A Christmas Eve invite to poet Allen Ginsberg.)

I want people to know that Kerouac wrote much of his major work in the county of Queens, New York and if they come looking for him, they will find him. Hopefully, this map will also inspire the local artists and writers of Queens to create a first “QUEENS CELEBRATES KEROUAC “DAY. I lift the first pint to them!

Pat Fenton

WebEd Note: Clicking on the picture for each location below will display a MapQuest map of the location, once on the MapQuest Page you may print this map or query MapQuest for directions to these locations.


A Queens Literary Trail of
The Lost Years of Jack Kerouac's Life

Jack Kerouac House, Ozone Park - Click Here for Map.

Jack Kerouac House
133-01 Cross Bay Boulevard

From 1943 to 1949, Jack Kerouac, the chronicler of the Beat Generation, lived over a drugstore in Ozone Park, where he wrote his first novel ”The Town and the City.” (1950) While creating parts of what would become the seminal novel of his generation, “On the Road,” he worked as a soda-jerk in the drugstore downstairs. Here, from a pay phone booth, he would receive calls from Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg with the number VA 3-9822.

Glen Patrick's Pub, Ozone Park - Click Here for Map.

Glen Patrick's Pub
133-10 Crossbay Blvd. Ozone Park

According to Ed White, a friend of Kerouac’s who appeared in “On the Road” as “Tim Grey,” “he liked to go to this bar across the street from his house (now called Glen Patrick‘s Pub) and fill his mother’s teakettle up with draft beer.” Kerouac drank there with his father, and at other times with Neal Cassady, and Lucian Carr. In his book, “Vanity of Duloz,” he talks about his father buying Carr a beer there one Summer afternoon.

EL Line Rockaway Boulevard Train Station - Click Here for Map.

EL Line Rockaway Boulevard Train Station

Each morning, when Queens commuters make their way up the long staircase of the elevated line at Rockaway Boulevard and Cross Bay, and rush to grab the train to their 9 to 5 gigs in New York City, few, if any, are aware that the writer Jack Kerouac once rushed up these same steps with his “canvas bag“ slung over his shoulder, and walked off into American Literary history as he started his “On the Road “ journey across America in 1947.

Little Kid's Library, Ozone Park - Click Here for Map.

“Little Kid's Library"
95-16 101st Ave. Ozone Park

Once a Children’s Library where Jack Kerouac planned his “On the Road” journey:” I’d been pouring over maps of the U.S. in Ozone Park for months, even reading books about the pioneers and savoring names like Platte and Cimarron….“The building is now a small church. In an earlier draft of “On the Road,” called “Visions of Cody,” Kerouac described the library as a “little kid’s library at the corner of Jerome Avenue (later changed to 101st Avenue)and Cross Bay Boulevard, where (of course adult books too) old silver rimmed ladies answered all your questions about (if you are question asking type)where to find the Cimarron River.”)


Richmond Hill House - Click Here for Map.

Richmond Hill House
94-21 134th Street - 1950 to 1955

Jack Kerouac wrote three books here, the “Subterraneans” (which He wrote in 3 days), “Maggie Cassidy“, and “Book of Dreams.” The poet Allen Ginsberg frequently came to visit him here. “His room was on the second floor with a window that faced the street. One day he gave me a writing lesson in that room. He sat me down at his typewriter and taught me spontaneous prose -- straight to the page as it comes into your mind. Jack was brilliant. He was a genius” - Allen Ginsberg

Phil Rizutto (Smokey Oval) Park, Richmond Hill - Click Here for Map.

Phil Rizutto Park
125 St Atlantic Avenue, Richmond Hill
(Originally named “Smokey Oval Park“)

In “On the Road”, Kerouac, who used to come here with Neal Cassady to play tough, pick-up basket ball games with local kids, describes it as “the sooty field by the Long Island Railroad.“ “‘We were like hot rock blackbelly tenor man mad of American back alley go-music trying to play basketball against Stan Getz and Cool Charlie.” J.K. Later, the future “King of the Beats” describes how they walked back to his mother’s house throwing a ball back and forth across Atlantic Avenue.

Van Wyck Expressway and Atlantic Avenue

The Van Wyck Expressway . . . Then - Click Here for Map.

The overpass at the VWE and Atlantic Ave
- Richmond Hill, around the corner from Kerouac’s house on 134th Street -

Often, when Allen Ginsberg came to visit, the two of them would go there to talk. He once described the sunken highway to Ginsberg with disdain as ,‘a bowling alley of cars.’ “He would talk about how he thought it was terrible that they could run a highway like this through a neighborhood and ruin it. He later wrote a manuscript about this called, ‘cityCityCITY.’” Allen Ginsberg.

The Van Wyck Expressway . . . Now - Click Here for Map.

North Side of Overpass VWE and Atlantic Ave
The site of a real life scene between Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady that he described in “On the Road” -

“Good-bye, good-bye. Dean walked off in the long red dusk. Locomotives smoked and reeled above him. His shadow followed him. It aped his walk and thoughts and very being…. He yelled something I didn’t catch . He ran around in a circle. All the time the closer to the concrete corner of the railroad overpass. . ….I waved back. Suddenly he bent to his life and walked quickly out of sight.”



David Amram - for all his support all these years.

John Sampas - for the same.

Denis Hamill - New York Daily News

Marisa Berman - Queens Historical Society

Nicholas Hirshon - New York Daily News

James Walck - m2hMedia - for his support and for making this electronic version of "Jack Kerouac's Queens - The Lost Years" possible at .


- A Stoopdreamer Production -

Copyright 2009 - All rights reserved.





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