St. Vincent’s Hospital

St. Vincent’s Hospital

170 W 12th St, New York, NY 10011


This Greenwich Village hospital served the local community for over 160 years before permanently closing in 2010; Joe Cino spent his last hours there after stabbing himself to death in 1967, and three decades later it treated hundreds of HIV patients during the height of the AIDS crisis.


Koutoukas Wrestles His Speed Demons


Harry Koutoukas shot lots of speed and could get paranoid about it, shouting from his apartment window, “Okay, everybody can see me now—I’m shooting up!” “He was kind of overweight,” his friend Bruce Eyster said, “which I found amazing, because most people that were doing that much speed were very skinny. But not Harry. Harry was heavy.” One time after throwing up neon-green bile and nearly dying, Koutoukas was taken to nearby St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he wrote from his hospital bed, still wired from the speed: “When I put on the black sequined G-string and pasties for the Gay Halloween event at St. Charles next month, I’ll be as svelte as an anorexic stripper. Almost. I’m outwardly still, but my contents are leaping, leaping! My shell is bursting with frogs. What the hell! I can’t write! I can’t think. I can only emote.”

From Chapter 12 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore