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Book Browsing in New York City

abstract:

New York City in December at the height of the holiday season is a feast for the senses; the vibrancy, the crowded streets, the ornately decorated windows, and the unlimited gift choices make you want to say halleluiah to capitalism. BookBuffet traveled to NYC to book browse the epicenter of publishing and consumerism; here are a few of our finds.

article:

December 16, 2005

Book Stores

 

Argosy Book Store: The Argosy is a NYC institution. Five floors offer every title imaginable, plus “the best collection of Americana anywhere.”  As well there is a Map and Print Department and an Autograph Department with a tremendous assortment of signed photographs, letters and manuscripts all attractively framed by their famous framing department. I'm searching for Ernest Shackleton, Endurance memorabelia.

 

Shakespeare and Co. Book Sellers: Has several stores all conveniently located close to NYU.  It has a textbook search feature divided into 2300 topics, so it's a great place to shop in person or online for home-schooling and adult learning material whether you’re registered at NYU or not. Purchase a textbook in a subject you've always been interested in, and plow through it in the New Year! 

 

The Strand: Established in 1927 by Benjamin Bass and located on New York’s famous book avenue - 4th It is named after the famous publishing street in London, and boasts 18 miles of books both new, used and collectible. In fact, they can help you assemble decorator collections (called booksbythefoot) in any subject, including art, biography, reference, law, music, theater and classic literature. "We've put together libraries for hundreds of clients, including the Plaza Hotel, Steven Spielberg, and Polo Ralph Lauren. Working with you, we will custom design a library that is sure to be a perfect match for any home or office space, one that will please the eye and satisfy the mind."  Check out the gorgeous leatherbound sets, or like-leather sets with everything in between.

Libreria Hispanica: This is the Spanish language book store of NYC with a selection of Spanish audio books as well. (Thet also carrry French and German books.)

Sister's Uptown Bookstore: This store provides a literary environment for African American locals with a calendar of author events and lists of book clubs.

VOX POP: Books, Coffee and Democracy The owner is known for his left wing views as an Indi publisher. This is a bookstore and cafe with a thriving clientel and regular performers. The interesting part is you can come and self publish using their POD Print On Demand machine on site. Cool

The New York Public Library: One of the great knowledge institutions of the world, its myriad collections rank with those of the British Library, the Library of Congress, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Virtually all of the Library's many collections and services are freely available to all comers. In fact, the Library has but one criterion for admission: curiosity.

Like the satiety experienced after browsing through recipes in a good cookbook, window-shopping here is as good as buying because after-all, appreciation of fine things doesn’t have to include acquiring them.  Keep your budget and gift list strictly in mind, and you can’t go wrong in this town— the most unique affordable item can be found.

 

Display Windows

 

Click here for a map of recommended store display windows: Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Barney’s are all visual feasts. Harry Winston, the jewelry store, has spectacular displays with exotic birds and mannequins clothed in matching feathers amidst ornate scenery. Bloomingdales has windows decorated on different child storybook themes: Rapunzal, Sleeping Beauty, etc.; Macy’s windows have animated open books displaying New York Holiday scenes; Sak’s windows are themed around friendship, harmony and love.

 

Must Do’s

 

After you have browsed the shops, enjoy the outdoors. Next stop - Central Park. Enter off of the Grand Army entrance, (where coincidently fifty percent of 25 million visitors access the park) off 5th Avenue and 59th Street. It's like a scene out of Dickens with the horse-drawn carriages pulling fur-cloaked fares to the sound of jingling bells and hoof claps. (photos courtesy PKS)

Avoid the mob scene and queues for ice-skating at Rockefeller Center - the combination is highly overrated.  The barriers erected prevent viewing of the festivities, whether for monetary or security reasons, the end result is disappointing. Instead, take your skates over to Bryant Park where it is free, (skate rentals are under $7) crowd pressure is less, and winter fun feels spontaneous.

Do check out the Rockefeller Center tree. This year Mayor Bloomberg, singer Harry Connick Jr., and evacuated children from Hurricane Katrina threw the switch on 30,000 lights at the ceremonial lighting of this 74 foot Norwegian spruce. The tradition dates back to 1933. Follow the link to learn more trivia. 

New York City Book Vendor Recommendations

(coming)

Past Book Browsing Destinations

 

 

 

 

 

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