Lit Nerd Wednesday!
Where do I start when it comes to William S. Burroughs? From the moment he stepped foot in New York City it was high drama, be it mingling with the underbelly denizens of Times Square like Herbert Huncke or hanging around Columbia with the “Libertine Circle”. Though he would leave many times for Paris, Mexico City, Tangier and finally Lawrence, Kansas he would always keep a base in Manhattan — from 1974 to 1997 that place was “The Bunker”.
Located at 222 Bowery “The Bunker”, as Burroughs affectionately dubbed it, was a windowless locker room of a defunct YMCA in a building that dates to 1885 — sounds cozy, yeah? Inside was a hodgepodge of things you’d expect along with the unexpected — along with the usual Burroughs gear like a typewriter, shoe shine kit and a pistol were blowdarts, pinwheels and books like The Medical Implications of Karate Blows.
With CBGB’s around the corner, he was at the right place at the right time as the punks descended onto the East Village and sought his counsel — it wouldn’t be unusual for Patti Smith to stop by and his proximity to Max’s Kansas City could guarantee frequent sightings. Burroughs moved to Kansas in 1980s but still used “The Bunker” as his NYC home. When he died in 1997 his friend, poet John Giorno, took over the space and lives there to this day keeping things, like Burroughs’ bedroom, intact. Kind of weird but cool nonetheless.
What: The Bunker
Who: William S. Burroughs
Where: 222 Bowery