Books, all kinds of books–and the search for them–often is reason alone to visit New York City. Yes, the 21st century has brought some decimation to our inventory of “Ye Olde Book Shoppes,” but the treasure hunt is still here. We have some Barnes & Nobles, for sure. And there’s discounted books at Costco and Target, on eBay and Amazon (and other sites). But let’s discover the unique, very-special bookstores in NYC that bring such joy to many. Old-and-Musty still exists in a few shops and in the weekend flea markets. The world over, THE STRAND BOOKSTORE downtown is on must-see lists for NYC visiting. But…that’s just one of the “greats!”
High-end comes into play in the great museums, where the book tables take over brain and heart. A book fanatic can spend hours at The Met Bookstore(s) and forget the galleries…hmmm, this writer is getting teary-eyed!
While Paris has its vendors lined along the banks of the Seine, here, in Manhattan, Broadway on the Upper Westside has long-time vendors fighting off gentrification, bringing to the fore all kinds of Upper Westside opinions! and the thrust by locals to “get rid of them.” They have treasure-troves of books, historic magazine issues, LP’s and personal histories to mesmerize customers. Enjoy these opinions!
There are links put together by enthusiastic book people, and nothing is left out! Nothing!
- TimeOut’s Recommendations
- and FourSquare’s picks
- (this is the writer’s favorite), a typical NY Times leave-nothing-out contribution
- Art and Architecture publications covering all eras…and kids’s interests are not left out
- Only-Used Books
Private institutions dedicated to the written word and accompanying illustrations are sought by professionals and collectors. The ultimate choice for the visitor is The Morgan Library. J.P. Morgan knew no boundaries in his love–and quest–for the written word and the master illustrations of every recorded century. The book shop–small–wunderbar! The NY Public Library on Fifth Avenue, perhaps one of our city’s five most important sites, offers free guided tours AND has a small but richly filled gift shop with books. Museum of the City of New York features writings through our history. The Asia Society–of course– offers everything to devour on Asian art and history. The New York Historical Society: Everything you wanted to know about the greatest city in the world, from inception and independence to now…and the future. (Alexander Hamilton founded the NYHS, and look what a “rockstar” he has become. The American Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium contain a gift shop of four floors, and each level is filled with books for all ages and filled with eye-popping illustrations covering every science explored. Rare books are an important niche, appreciated by the professional and amateur science community the world over. (Several links bring you to each book division of the museum.)
Choices unlimited! Never a disappointment in all personal and gift book searches throughout our city’s art institutions.
Gardeners go nuts at the two major botanical gardens, Bronx and Brooklyn. (This writer is always close to tears, realizing a strained budget keeps her from going broke with each visit!)
VSC’s (Very Special Children) are escorted uptown to Bank Street Books. But most of the aforementioned book sites also reach out to the kids.
Ah, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts: The Met Opera Gift Shop is a glittering marvel. Libretti, biographies, portraits, costume design, histories. The performing arts come alive long after the performances…and long after the stars have left this earth. Kids’ books, too!
Each year, during the third weekend of November (Nov. 19 and 20 this year), the Goddard Riverside Community Center holds its book fair on Columbus Avenue/88th Street. ALL NEW, every genre of books (thousands of them)…and more…are sold at 50% discount. Some first printings are signed! Gifts and souvenirs, also Spanish and French editions for kids, Funds go to the center’s homeless program, and the publishers are very generous with their donations.
Just remember, please, to allow room in your luggage–plan ahead. And love your search! You will be brought to some of our most iconic streets, neighborhoods and institutions…book lovers’ Eden.