West End Café finally reopens … as Havana Central

Hey Jack, how bout a mojito?

Famous Jack Kerouac, Dizzy Gillespie, and Joe College hangout the West End Café has officially reopened for business–“about five minutes ago,” a publicist told The Observer late Thursday afternoon.

Albeit with a slightly altered moniker: Havana Central at the West End.

Dig it: Kerouac’s favorite burger joint will begin serving Cuban cuisine next month, under the direction of new owner and Columbia U. grad Jeremy Merrin.

The historic Upper West Side bar–notoriously divided by the sign “Pigs over there, students over here,” during the late ’60s Columbia riots–was originally scheduled to reopen in September but got delayed by “construction complications,” according to the Columbia Spectator.

The newly refurbished venue will commemorate its Beat-poet past with readings of Kerouac’s On The Road and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl next Friday night.

Full beboppin’ event details after the jazzy jump.

– Chris Shott

Columbia HOWLS Again as On the Road Turns 49

Annual Celebration of Columbia’s Beat Writers to take place on November 3rd at
Havana Central at the West End

On Friday, November 3, 2006, alumni and students, poets and readers, faculty and friends will join Columbia English professor Ann Douglas and the Columbia Alumni Association for the third annual HOWL, a celebration of Columbia’s Beats, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The event, which will culminate in a recitation of Howl, will incorporate original poetry and musical performance by David Amram, a longtime friend and artistic collaborator of Kerouac’s. The program will also include readings by special guests and a commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the publication of Kerouac’s signature novel, On the Road.

The celebration will kick off with an afternoon program from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in Columbia’s Graduate Student Lounge (301 Philosophy Hall) with “Remembering Jack,” a discussion featuring Ann Douglas, David Amram and Joyce Johnson, fiction and nonfiction author who chronicled her experience with Kerouac and the Beats in works such as her memoir, Minor Characters. The discussion will be moderated by Penny Vlagopoulos, a Kerouac scholar who is one of the editors chosen for a forthcoming edition of the Kerouac scrolls.

At 8:00 p.m. at Havana Central at the West End (2909 Broadway), HOWL wit continue on the site of Ginsberg’s and Kerouac’s favorite haunts with: reflections on the Beat legacy at Columbia; readings from On the Road, How, and short works by Kerouac and Ginsberg; original poetry readings; and an excerpt from recently published journals chronicling Ginsberg’s Columbia years. It will conclude with a jam session bringing together the David Amram trio and Columbia student musicians. Food and drinks will be served.

The event is sponsored by the Columbia Alumni Association and is open to Columbia alumni, students, and friends; $15 for alumni and guests, $10 for recent alumni, and $5 for students. RSVP requested. For event information, contact Emily Morris at ebm23@columbia.edu.

For press information, contact Jerry Kisslinger, Executive Director of Communications for Development and Alumni Relations, at jk666@columbia.edu, (212) 870-3548.

West End Café finally reopens … as Havana Central