437 East 12th Street in Transition

Rosebud Pettet came by yesterday wondering what’s become of Allen’s old apartment on East 12th since we’d all heard they’d started gutting it after Peter Orlovsky died. We thought we’d sneak in and see what was left. Luckily the workmen were sympathetic and let us snoop around. Of course we snapped a few shots. Our apologies the quality ain’t better, but tiptoeing around workers and over rubble had its effect, and well, obviously the iPhone is no match for Allen’s Olympus XA!

And what became known as “Harry’s Room” ever since his 9 month stay in 1985, has been converted into a bathroom. That doorway and room behind it are in so many photos taken at the kitchen table.

Harry Smith archive-genius painter filmmaker exhausted 3 A.M. Car had backed into him, compression-fractured knee, he stayed nine months in small guest-room behind his shoulder the door. Homeless in New York! June 17, 1985 (Ginsberg caption) c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

“Harry Smith with Flowers and Cigarette in the kitchen 437 East 12th Street NYC, apple juice & file Folder of his designs on table, Portrait of first Cheka head propped on Piano in guest room, August 3, 1986. (Ginsberg caption) c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

Harry Smith, 437 East 12th St. ca 1986. photo. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate.

Rosebud Pettet at the entrance to the Long hallway with the doorway to the kitchen now blocked off.

Allen & William S Burroughs bidding Herbert Huncke farewell in the same hallway. Photo snapped circa 1975, just after Allen and Peter had moved in. (Photographer unknown.)


  1. Argh. Thanks for posting these. I lived across the hall from Rosebud from 1979 to 1990. All of us at that time were sure the building was about to collapse–we'd look morosely at cracks in the back wall. A bit later I was sure some landlord would tear it down and build something taller. Never quite pictured it as a condo complex. though.

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