Thursday, March 19, 2009

Last Address

The sad thing is, this isn't the only building with a story like that. (Jeremiah's Vanishing New York/Orange Crate Art)

The building became an almost communal haven for artists. Elaine deKooning had a studio above the orthopedic shop, and the top floors held dancers and sculptors. Frank threw parties here, with John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and many others. When he wasn't socializing, he watched westerns on his black-and-white TV and wrote poems, but only occasionally. Mostly, at 791 Broadway, Frank O'Hara drank. The contents of his refrigerator, says Gooch, had been "winnowed down to a bottle of vodka, a bottle of vermouth, and some olives for martinis."

At this time, his poems began to publish in earnest. It would have been to this address that copies of Lunch Poems were sent from City Lights. And it would have been here, on a muggy Friday morning, that he packed a bag for a weekend in Fire Island where he met his death under the wheels of a beach taxi.

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