KING OF THE BAJA The Writings of Robert Guskind

Published October 19th, 2013

Guskind was a former Washington Post reporter whose life unraveled after years of heavy drug use. He sustained his drug habit on a string of minimum wage jobs and petty crime. Eventually, he returned to reporting after cleaning himself up. Over a period of two years, Guskind sent Underground Voices "test pages" that he hoped would become his memoir covering the drug years. His memoir never came to fruition but UV has gathered his pages and will publish KING OF THE BAJA, his "unfinished memoir," hoping it comes close to what he would have wanted. Tony DuShane, columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and former editor of Cherry Bleeds, has written the intro for the book.

Bob Guskind was born on October 19, 1958, and grew up in Clifton, New Jersey. In 1976 Bob was accepted at Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and graduated in 1980, close to the top of his class (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa).

He immediately was hired by Neal Peirce, one of the founders and then a senior editor of National Journal, in Washington, D.C., and continued writing for the magazine and working with Peirce on his syndicated columns for the Washington Post Writers Group over several years. During these years, Bob also worked with Peirce on many articles on the nation’s neighborhood movement and developed the appreciation for neighborhoods that influenced much of his later work. With Peirce, and on commission from the Bruner Foundation, Bob coauthored Breakthroughs: Re-creating the American City (Rutgers, 1993). The book tracked a range of urban success stories ranging from resuscitation campaigns in ravaged New York City and Lincoln, Neb., neighborhoods to the major transit reconstruction of Boston’s Southwest Corridor. He also wrote occasional articles for the Washington Post.

After struggling and finally succumbing for several peripatetic years in the 1990s to addiction, during which he nonetheless continued writing prolifically (he had produced several pieces of a memoir “based on his travels and experiences as a reporter and formerly disreputable dope fiend,”) Bob reemerged at the new millennium, and worked as the writer, photographer and editor for the weekly newsletter of the New Community Corporation in Newark, NJ, the largest and most comprehensive community development organization in the United States. This job, with its boots-on-the-ground coverage, and all-purpose, DIY skill requirements, was the before-last piece in the puzzle that would eventually coalesce into his infamous blog, The Gowanus Lounge, founded in April 2006.

Robert Guskind died March 4th, 2009. See the site,, dedicated to him.

For a Cherished Blog, a Death, and Doubts - The New York Times
A Gowanus Lounge Goodbye for Robert Guskind - The New York Times
The Death of a Blogger - The Huffington Post
Death of a blogger — Robert Guskind, R.I.P. - The Brooklyn Paper