Monday, August 01, 2011

Bookstore Tour of New York (project in progress)

This entry is dedicated to TM, who made me fall in love with books and bookstores, despite how convenient it is to buy and read ebooks in a time when every book store seems to be closing down.

I originally wanted to make a list so I can do bookstore tours for my friends who love books. It’s also easier to fit bookstores with your regular tourist route since they’re every where and usually have better souvenirs. I like to set bookstores as meeting places when I get together with friends in NY. When you have to deal with subway/train schedules, nobody can get to a place on time. What better way to spend some free time browsing books and educating yourself?

I started out with just real bookstores but ended up including some museum stores and libraries since some of them have unique book sections that I don’t find elsewhere. Organized by location (from downtown to uptown, although it’s clearly difficult when talking about chains like B&N). Probably makes sense to do a website with more detailed descriptions and maps and so forth. Let’s start by doing the list though.

my list of bookstores (updated 7/2011)

Borders (Wall St, Penn, Columbus Circle) – when I started making this list back in 2010, Borders was close to shutting down. As I write today, all borders in the locations have closed down or very near it. Not sure what stores and companies will set up in those locations. Since they’re quite nice buildings (bookstore or not), I’m leaving them here for reference.

New museum bookstore (les): if you like art books and unique gifts, you should check out this book store and city bakery café in the New Museum. Last time I was here, I took one hour on the museum exhibit and 2 hours between the coffee/pastries and bookstore (small but pack full of goodies).

McNally Jackson (soho): awesome décor and a fantastic section dedicated to NY, and even a section called 'ideas'. If you want, you can also print your book and other out of print books.

Muji (soho, and various other locations): Not a bookstore but has enough stationery to make you want to throw away your smartphone/blackberry and write! some nice nyc themes items too.

St. Marks Bookstore (St. Marks): I’m here way too often since I meet my friends here prior to getting yakitori or some other eats around the area. good source of independent journals/books.

Forbidden Planet (union sq): one of the best places for comic fans although they’ve included some anime stuff too. action figures, comic books, and other fun stuff galore.

Strand (union sq): possibly my favorite book store in NY, well out of the ones I’ve visited anyway. Look for incredible amount of NY books/cards on the ground floor, art books on the top floor, and science/math/philosophy books on the lower floor. Whenever I need ideas for non-fiction, I browse the bestseller lists for topics that are unfamiliar to me. You can literately spend hours here. their lectures are also more intimate than the B&N ones.

Barnes and Noble or B&N (union sq, and various): there are still a good number of B&N in the city but this one is my favorite. tons of author events, I’ve actually seen many famous people here through the book events. gorgeous building, awesome book selection, right next to union square, what else can you ask for?

Revolution bookstore (flatiron): I walk by this place when I go to some of the restaurants on this street. haven’t been inside but kept this as ref.

NY Public Library – Science/Industry/Business (midtown): good workshops for small businesses and finance topics. I didn’t use this for research but I imagine if you’re looking for science/industry/business, this is the place to check out.

NY Public Library – Humanities (bryant park): officially the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. it’s the library with the famous lions. it took me years to finally visit this library. rotating exhibits, beautiful reading rooms, and fun to walk around. my favorite room is the map room.

Kinokuniya (bryant park): large selection of Japanese language books/magazines. If you don’t read Japanese, they have plenty of English materials and fun stationery. they’ve expanded their anime/manga section too.

Book off (midtown): used books. mix of japanese and english.

Posman Books (grand central): grand central has a lot of cool stores, this one has a fun collection of memo/postitnotes and NY themed everything.

Rizzoli (midtown): French, Spanish, Italian language books. Art books. New Yorker cards!

Grolier club.(midtown) Gallery and book related exhibits

Neue galerie book store. (upper east side) German books on art, philosophy, literature. attached to neue galerie which features German artwork.

Labyrinth (upper west side) CLOSED....sad.

Columbia university east Asian library, music library, art library, etc. check out the libraries in Columbia University. some of them require sign-in and others are just general admission.

other organizational matters/todos for the project

map of locations/route

nearby food/drinks/attractions

cool fact about each store. my favorite book/card/souvenirs/atmosphere/wifi/etc?

stores to check out:

Three Lives

Rare travel books


other book/ tour reference links: (lists bookstores)

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