Located on the intersection of Broadway and 12th Street, just south of Union Square in the East Village is an institution for New Yorkers the Strand Bookstore, one of my favorite places to go and browse through books. The store’s slogan which is prominent on its signs, stickers, magnets, t-shirts etc. is “18 Miles of Books” is fitting because as of last month, July 2016 their books numbered 2.5 million and prestigious New York Times calls the store “the undisputed king of the city’s independent bookstores.”
Not a chain bookstore, still owned by the family that opened the store back in 1927, the Bass family, is uniquely New York and the last vestige of what was called in the 1920’s ‘Book Row’, over on Fourth Avenue where the Strand was originally located. ‘Book Row’ consisted of 48 bookstores within six city blocks back in the roaring twenties. It was 1927 when a 25 year old Ben Bass, an ardent reader himself, borrowed some money to put together with his own savings to open a modest used book store. The name? Named after the famous street in London that had so much theatric and literary history tied to it, names like Charles Dickens and theaters like the Tivoli, the Strand and the Globe are synonymous with thoroughfare known as Strand.
Ben’s son Fred and granddaughter Nancy still run the establishment that consists of 200+ employees, three and half floors of books here at this location and a Central Park kiosk. They look to hire lovers of books, and judging by my encounters at the store, they’ve managed to do a great job. Outside the store on most days are portable wheeled stacks with used books extremely cheap in varying conditions which can be seen in this image. I’ve gotten some real bargains, I love older books with photography of the particular era when the book was published. It’s always fascinating to see how much things have changed and evolved or disappeared over time. Anybody who follows me knows I love history, and love reading history, and the stacks inside the store are equally inviting with modern publications and some obscure ones too. The Strand holds wonderful events at the store, conversation and dialogues with current authors, celebrities in a very laid back, relaxed and intimate setting. Whenever I’m in the Union Square area, I always find my way over to the Strand, and usually come out with a bag. Their motto is “The Strand is a place where books are loved and book lovers of all kind are always welcome,” and in my experience that is certainly the case well worth a quick stop if you are in the area.
Taken with a Nikon 1 J1 MILC with a Nikon 1Nikkor 10-30mm F3.5-5.6 VR lens processed in Photomatix Pro and cleaned up in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
Tagged: , NYC , NEWYORK , NEWYORKCITY , EASTVILLAGE , STRANDBOOKSTORE , STRAND , BOOKROW , BENBASS , FREDBASS , NANCYBASS