Beat Movement was a social and literary movement begun in the late 1940s that coalesced around the writings of Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and many others. The movement was started in bohemian artist communities of San Francisco’s North Beach, Los Angeles’ Venice West, and New York City’s Greenwich Village. Its followers are called ‘beatniks’, and they embraced the bohemian lifestyle, sexual liberation, free-spirited expressionism and vocabulary borrowed from jazz musicians. They also advocated drugs, personal release, purification and sometimes the disciplines of Zen Buddhism.
Beat generation poets sought to transform poetry into an expression of genuine lived experience, and they to sough liberate poetry from academic preciosity. By the early 1960s, the movement gradually began to disappear though its ideology and free-spirited expressionism later evolved into hippie culture.
The following historical photographs show the lifestyle and culture of Beatniks in the 1950s and 1960s in New York City.