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Greenwich Village. Come on, walk over with me and I'll show you around, and you can buy me a beer and tell me what you've been doing with yourself."

"Listen, tell me something."


"How'd you recognize me after all these years?"

"Your freckles, how else?"

"Fuck you, too! "

The sky darkened with gray clouds hovering as they walked across Third Avenue into the wind. Billy mentioned that the Lower East Side had originally been marshland, which is what the word Bowery meant if you spelled it bouwerie. A group of panhandlers were huddled against the cold on the corner outside the Gem Spa candy store, and Kenny was confused for a moment by their juvenile, wellfed, cherubic faces, until Billy explained that it was just a new game the kids from the other boroughs played in Manhattan. On Saint Mark's Place just before First Avenue they passed a building where, according to Billy, Trotsky, and two of his comrades had edited a political journal during the months prior to the Russian workers' struggle for power in 1917. They crossed one of the city's largest and least-known parks at Tompkins Square, continuing along Avenue B to Tenth Street and the Annex.

The bar had a late afternoon crowd of mostly Jewish chicks, and black guys dressed like aesthetes and coming on like noble savages. Kenny bought a pair of Ballantine ales and carried them over to a table where Billy had piled a couple handfuls of peanuts. They drank ale and shelled peanuts for a few hours and talked about themselves and the news. Kenny ran down a precis of his more than five years in Europe. Billy talked about what was happening on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. About how it had evolved from the violent battleground for opposing ideas of immigrant peoples to the frontier of adventure for the East Coast of America's aggressively searching youth who kept time to Kerouac's On the Road beat, but settled for a more stationary scene here, and let their hair grow long. About how people who wrote in newspapers for a living had categorized the place as a "new Bohemia" and the young who came there "Hippies." About the low rents; the Kerista free love cultists who set up a floating sexual kibbutz which daily congregated in various pads; the cafes, bars, clubs, theaters, galleries, magazines, papers, films that were springing out from underground throughout [end page 218]


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