9. A Friend of Jack Kerouac Committed Murder in Riverside Park
Riverside Park is known for its gorgeous views of Manhattan’s waterfronts, lush greenery, and myriad walking and biking paths. But in the 20th century, this green space was the scene of a murder involving a member of the Beat Generation of writers. Lucien Carr was a transfer student from Bowdoin College in Maine to New York City’s Columbia University. While at Columbia, Carr formed close friendships with famous Beat writers, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg. The intelligent and handsome Carr was reportedly admired by a number of men during his lifetime, including his scoutmaster from back home in St. Louis, David Kammerer. Kammerer had developed affection toward Carr and followed him from home to New York in the name of love.
One night after the pair had some drinks, Carr and Kammerer took a walk in Riverside Park and an altercation ensued. Carr stabbed Kammerer with his Boy Scout knife and fatally wounded him. A panicked Carr sought the aid of his friends Burroughs and Kerouac to dispose of the body, but Carr turned himself in to the precinct a mere 12 hours after the incident.