Are you a fellow book lover? If you're like me, than one of your first destinations when visiting a city is the local bookstore. Before I travel, I gather a list of bookstores I want to visit. And you know what? The journey always leads me to discovering the essence of a city, because bookstores are about community, culture and art. They are always tucked away in interesting neighborhoods or parts of the city that I might never have ventured to and I would have missed something special. By following bookstores, I have been led to amazing coffeeshops, restaurants, parks, architecture and more. New York City was no different. I had an amazing time wondering from bookstore to bookstore and at the same time, seeing a side of NYC that I hadn't seen before.
Three Lives & Co
This bookstore is located in historic Greenwich Village. It is small but mighty! When I imagine a neighborhood bookstore in NYC, this is what I see. You will enter and be surrounded by soft lighting, warm woods and a spectacular curated selection of books. I literally spent hours combing the shelves. I'm not a fan of the super mega bookstores like The Strand. They overwhelm me. But this store was just the right size to lose myself for a little while.
For me, McNally Jackson is all about their selection of books. It's amazing! The other amazing thing is their cafe. I don't know how they can serve such a selection out of a tiny, makeshift kitchen, but they do. And can we talk about the decor? The wallpaper is made out of pages of books and there are books hanging from the ceiling. It's a book lovers' dream!
This bookstore has a great location in the neighborhood Chelsea. The selection focuses on art and literature which makes sense since the owners are an art dealer and editor. It's a small store but well curated.
Housing Works Bookstore
Located in SoHo, this bookstore's stock is 100% donated. It is housed in a beautiful location with lots of charm. All profits go towards supporting Housing Works, a nonprofit organization helping those affected by HIV/AIDS. There is also a cafe inside the store that serves food, drinks and pastries.
If fancy is how you like to shop than Rizzoli's is for you. Located in the NoMad neighborhood, it is housed in a six story townhouse. The interior has an elegant feel with chandeliers, paintings and large wood bookshelves.
Greenlight is located in Brooklyn. This was another bookstore where I lost myself browsing the shelves. They have a great selection! This store is the perfect example of bookstores leading me to new discoveries. I had never been to Brooklyn before and the store is located on a street with a local coffee shop and restaurants. It was a pleasant surprise.
New York Public Library
I know. I know. The library is not a bookstore but how could I leave it out of the tour? I mean look at the place! My pictures give you just a hint of the beauty inside this library. All I can say is "GO"!
(I took this picture off a poster inside the library)
Suffice it to say that when I left New York City, my luggage was a wee bit heavier than when I arrived. So give it a try! If you want to discover the heart of a city, always begin your travels at the local bookstore.