I was especially excited to do this stream because I love bookstores! I could browse the aisles of books all day or just sit a get lost in a good novel. Who knew there were so many different bookstores in NYC? I certainly didn’t. Usually when people think of the city they think of taxis, the subway, good pizza, Central Park and (without a doubt) Times Square. But when you take the time to get to know the true New York City, there is an entirely new world that should be explored.
My first stop was Blue Stockings. This was a small bookstore with plastic chairs in the front to sit and enjoy the book you picked out. You know, like one of those chairs you might find at an outdoor party. The floors were worn and it had a rustic feeling to it. There was an interesting array of music being loudly played throughout this tiny store, and some requests were made to play a certain song seeing that the person behind the counter was controlling the music through his laptop. The employees were very kind and knew everything there was to know about the bookstore. There are books about world history, Africa, New York and a book about being vegan.
I then ventured to St. Mark’s Bookshop. This was definitely a neat bookshop. Upon entering, I heard foreign music playing and didn’t think the bookshop was that big, but as I kept walking, the store just kept going. The shelves were slanted in a cool layout and there were hanging light fixtures. On the wall I found a list of “the best 100 novels of the 20th century.” I was familiar with some of the books because I had either read them or heard about them. There were others on that list that I had never heard of, but sounded interesting. As I explored some more, I found a book called Europe and Love in Cinema. I have no idea what it’s about, but it just struck me as interesting and I told myself I would check it out sometime. The only flaw with this place is that I didn’t see a place to sit and enjoy a good book.
Next, I went to The Strand. Now, I heard that it was huge, but I couldn’t even imagine how big this place was until I got there! But, before I go into that, as I was walking to the entrance, I saw book carts lined up and down the sidewalk beside the store that were for sale for about $1.00. For some reason I just love it when there are book sales outside. When I entered the store, I was overwhelmed with how many books there were! There were tables of books, shelves of books, floors and floors of books and just books, books, books! There’s a basement, a first floor, second floor and third floor. Any book you are searching for is probably in this bookstore. I could have spent hours in here going up and down the aisles from floor to floor. I must say, I highly enjoyed this place.
Once I finally left The Strand, I made my way over to Barnes & Noble. I knew exactly what to expect because it’s a chain bookstore, so they are all going to be very similar. Some people don’t like chains, but I happen to love Barnes & Noble. Perhaps it’s because that’s the bookstore that’s near my hometown and around Christmas time I would go there to look for gifts for family. Sometimes I would end up finding a book I was interested in and take it to the cafe to get a cup of tea and sit and read. Something about Barnes & Noble just gives me a comforting feeling. In New York, this Barnes & Noble has four floors, a huge children’s section and a Starbucks with seating. Once again, if you are looking for a particular book, Barnes & Noble probably has it. I very much loved being in this bookstore.
This next bookstore was absolutely fascinating to me. Bauman Rare Books is a place everyone should visit. It’s a small, elegant and classy bookstore that sells primarily first editions. One of the employees who worked there was very knowledgable about the store and the books and gave me suggestions as to where to start my browsing. I was intrigued by all of the old, yet classic looking books. Their covers and biding are beautiful. My favorite section was the children’s books. I can relate more to them. There was Curious George being sold for $2,400 and Winnie-the-Pooh being sold for $22,000. Growing up, I remember my mom reading these books to me. They also had The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which of course reminded me of school because everyone has to read it as an assignment. I highly recommend a visit to this bookstore. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Rizzoli Bookstore was next on the list. I walked in and immediately saw a lot of things about Paris and other travel destinations. But of course they had books about New York as well. They also had creative birthday and greeting cards being sold. The store was small and very quaint. There was classical music playing to create a soothing feeling. I picked up a book called The Seasons of New York. It was a collection of pictures of New York City throughout all of the different seasons. As mentioned in class one week when we visited the library, one of the pictures for winter featured the lions outside of the library with wreaths around their neck. It was a beautiful book in a beautiful store. I read on BuzzFeed that this bookstore was a place you had to visit before you died. I can now check that off my list.
My last bookstore visit was to Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers. Once again, it was small, but they had a wide variety of books. This bookstore is conveniently located right across the street from Hunter College and they allow you to rent textbooks here. Or, if you’d rather, you can buy t-shirts and other apparel. I wasn’t completely impressed with this bookstore like the others, but it was still nice. I didn’t see a place for people to sit, but that seems to be a common theme. Maybe they don’t want you to stay and read the entire book, they’d rather you just buy it. Or, they just didn’t have room for seating.