The last time I went to New York City, I was accosted by a Jack Kerouac impersonator who was trying to tell me the best places to get my 'kicks.' I couldn't understand much of what he said since, being in character, he was very drunk, occasionally taking a swig from a jug of red wine in his knapsack.

Having gone to school in Kerouac's hometown, Lowell, MA, this was not the first impersonator I'd seen. One fateful Halloween, I too walked in his beat shoes.

In his ghostly, drunken, rambling way, he led me from one New York restaurant to another. Each owner, in his turn, would ask him to leave: some politely, some less so; but unanimously he was turned away. They spoke familiarly with him, addressing him as Jimmy rather than Jack, as he had requested I call him. Very curious, I thought.

At last, we reached a truly exemplary New York restaurant. The smell of tomatoes and Italian spices was too enticing; I couldn't resist stopping there to eat. I slipped in before Jack could make a scene and approached the manager. I explained that I was not with Jack. "I mean Jimmy," I said, still sniffling from the cold.

I looked out the front window to see him staring in at me, betrayed, blue eyes welling. It had begun to rain, as it can only rain on a lonely bum in New York.

In any case, the meal was excellent and I still consider that place the best restaurant in New York.