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One of My Favorite Places: City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Cafe

From a Brooklyn Basement

Let me tell you about my favorite way to spend an afternoon in San Francisco: I walk up the easy slope of Columbus Ave, starting at the base of the Transamerica Pyramid, passing the copper green flatiron building owned by Francis Ford Coppola, and stopping just short of Broadway, at Jack Kerouac Alley. Here, you’re standing at the world’s greatest literary intersection, the home of City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Cafe.

Kerouac Alley, with the Transamerica Building in the background Kerouac Alley, with the Transamerica Building in the background

First stop is City Lights. The store, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary last weekend, was founded by Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1953. It’s a place that reeks of literary history–City Lights published Allen Ginsberg’s seminal (no pun intended, I swear) Howl in 1956, which led to Ferlinghetti being put on trial for obscenity (he was acquitted in a landmark court decision). City Lights has since published work by…

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Writer, artist, store owner, knife maker, film maker, leader, model, singer-songwriter, director, mayor, Some other stuff. jamielynngodwin@gmail.com

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