William Burroughs and John Giorno’s “Bunker”

William Burroughs and John Giorno’s “Bunker”

222 Bowery, New York, NY 10012


Housing New York’s first Y.M.C.A. in the 1880s, by the 1970s it was occupied by writers William Burroughs and John Giorno when it was known as “the Bunker.”


The Bowery, the Bunker and the Blondie Loft


Craig Leon, who produced early singles and albums by Blondie, the Ramones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and others, would sometimes see dead homeless people on the Bowery’s sidewalk. “It was right on the borderline between the bohemian upmarket West Village and the very underground Beat scenes and junky neighborhoods,” Leon said. “It had a mixture of old fifties and sixties Beat people living there.” William Burroughs lived with poet John Giorno in his “Bunker” residence in that part of the Bowery, just a few blocks south of CBGB—where his friend Patti Smith recalled that the sidewalks were often lined with burning trashcans that helped warm the street people. The Blondie Loft was located just up the block from the Bunker, an area that was populated by many a musician, writer, junkie, and/or all of the above.

From Chapter 30 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore