4. Riverside Park – West 115th St.
Just as it is now, in the 1940s, Riverside Park was a frequent haunt for students at nearby Columbia University. In 1944, the park made headlines as the site of a murder committed by Lucien Carr, a member of a group of Columbia students who later formed the core of the Beat Generation. It was Carr who introduced renowned Beat authors Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and it was his friendship with the two men that indirectly lead to his murder of old friend and stalker David Kammerer.
Kammerer met Carr as a youth in the Boy Scouts, and later followed him to New York as he attended Columbia. Kammerer grew increasingly desperate as Carr found a circle of friends (Kerouac and Ginsberg among them) that did not include him. On August 13, 1944, they took a walk in Riverside Park, where Carr later alleged Kammerer made unwanted sexual advances on him. Carr stabbed Kammerer with a Boy Scout knife and tied and dumped his body in the Hudson River. Kerouac helped him dispose of the knife, but Carr later confessed and spent two years in prison before being released. He died in 2005 after a long career as an editor. The aftermath of Kammerer’s murder is the focus of the upcoming film Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe (a few scenes of which were filmed at Columbia last year).