I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.Jack KerouacClick anywhere
Herbert Edwin Huncke (January 9, 1915 – August 8, 1996) was an American writer and poet, and active participant in a number of emerging cultural, social and aesthetic movements of the 20th century in America. He was a member of the Beat Generation and is reputed to have coined the term.
Huncke hitchhiked to New York City in 1939. He was dropped off at 103rd and Broadway, and he asked the driver how to find 42nd Street. "You walk straight down Broadway," the man said, "and you will find 42nd Street." Huncke, always a stylish dresser, bought a boutonnière for his jacket and headed for 42nd Street. For the next 10 years, Huncke was a 42nd Street regular and became known as the "Mayor of 42nd Street."
During the late 1940s, Huncke was recruited to be a subject in Alfred Kinsey's research on the sexual habits of the American male. He was interviewed by Kinsey, and recruited fellow addicts and friends to participate. Huncke had been a writer, unpublished, since his days in Chicago and gravitated toward literary types and musicians. In the music world, Huncke visited all the jazz clubs and associated with Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon (with whom he was once busted on 42nd Street for breaking into a parked car). When he first met Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, they were interested in writing and also unpublished. They were inspired by his stories of 42nd Street life, criminal life, street slang and his vast experience with drugs. Huncke was immortalized in Kerouac's "On the Road" as the character Elmer Hassel.