If you love books NYC provides you with many, many boostores to pop into, browse through, sit, read and drink coffee in. Lots of opportunities in other words to generally enjoy the company of other booklovers. Of all the different types of retailers in NYC, bookstores most obviously foster a sense of community and fellowship, offering much more than the books on display.
Sure they’re all under threat in this day of digital books and some much loved bookstores, such as Rizzoli’s, have closed, but there are still 100′s in NYC. I’ve selected 4 to highlight, all wildly popular for different reasons. They’re all places where interesting things happen apart from books being sold. Book readings, musicians presenting their latest compositions, well known actors strolling in to read poems or extracts from their favorite book, weddings, dance parties. In a good bookstore anything can happen and does. Above all, bookstores are magical retreats where words and beauty go togehter and that makes them very compelling places to visit.
THE STRAND: Like all of New York’s pre-eminent bookstores this one has not just books but readings and other events. It’s large, hugely popular and this 80 year old bookstore has among other things a formidable collection of rare books. In the video you can see and hear an interview with Fred Bass the owner, and at nearly 80 himself he’s one of those now rare group of New Yorkers, someone who has spent his whole life running his business. Check out the tote bags they sell here, a great selection. Find the store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street in the East Village.
MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKSTORE: Yes as well as lots of books they also have coffee, and their very popular Espresso Book Machine which you can use to print your very own magnum opus. They also have lots of events where you can meet authors and check out their stationary collection is excellent. Find them at 52 Prince Street btw Lafayette and Mulberry Sts Nolita.
HOUSINGWORKS BOOKSTORE CAFE: Part of an used goods store is run entirely by volunteers to raise money for HIV/Aids, it is probably the biggest used bookstore in NYC and as well it’s hugely popular. Reasons to go there apart from the books, their coffee and eats, the company you meet as you sit and read, the unpredictable events that can go there, all the way from NYC’s culturati doing readings to weddings, dance parties and wild musical events. Find it at 126 Crobsy Street SoHo.
GREENLIGHT BOOKSTORE: Pretty young and recent compared to the bookstores listed above, Greenlight has becpome the go-to bookstore in Brooklyn for all booklovers and Moms and children who treasure a great kid’s read. Located in rapidly gentrifying Fort Greene, this store also has a strong showing each year at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Find it at 686 fulton St, Fort Greene Brooklyn.