Herbert Huncke

Huck, whom you’ll see on Times Square, somnolent and alert, sad, sweet, dark, holy. Just out of jail. Martyred. Tortured by sidewalks, starved for sex and companionship, open to anything, ready to introduce a new world with a shrug. –Jack Kerouac (Desolation Angels)

Born January 9, 1915
Died: August 8, 1966

Herbert Huncke was one of the early hobos of the beat generation, a street hustler who eventually published a few novels with the help of his peers, due in part also to the fact he was a great storyteller. Unlike many others in his street predicament, he was creative and charismatic. This is what drew him to people like Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.

He had been born to a middle-class family in Massachusetts, but ran away at age 12 to seek out his life, only to return and then end up on the darker side of life — hustling and all that comes with it. He was greatly admired, however, and even to the end of his life was befriended by other free spirits, including the Grateful Dead, who paid his rent at the Chelsea Hotel.

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