Earlier this year, I found myself in the Big Apple, so what’s a porcupette to do but amuse herself by visiting a few literary landmarks while in town? I ventured from my Times Square hotel and started walking, stopping every so often at a couple awe-inspiring bookish places.
It was a hot, humid day, but undaunted, I started down 42nd street, passing through a very crowded Bryant Park. From there, I caught a glimpse of the famous New York Public Library, a bastion of learning that is appropriately awe-inspiring to look at!
The steps were populated by tourists and book lovers alike–people who wanted to beat the heat by lounging in the shade, or who just wanted to soak up a little inspiration.
Of course, I had to get a photo of one of the iconic NYPL lions! Dappled by sunlight, they looked appropriately regal for the occasion.
After that, it was a long trek down 5th Ave. before I finally got to experience the Amazon Books store on W. 34th.
Amazon Books was an interesting animal. It’s not like any bookstore I’ve seen before. If you’re looking for a particular title, well, good luck.
It’s not organized in a way that would be recognizable to a typical book lover, but I can see how it would appeal to people who aren’t quite sure what they want to read. With quirky categories and an emphasis on user reviews, it is more of a recommendation engine than a traditional bookstore, which probably fits with the Amazon brand anyway. Plus, with all those face-out displays, it is pretty to look at!
After a quick stop in Amazon Books, I was off once again. I took a shortcut through Union Square Park and after a block or two down Broadway, it was time to visit the place that was the impetus of my pilgrimage: the Strand Bookstore.
With construction happening on the front steps, pretty much, I couldn’t get much of a glimpse of the building, but that’s OK. There was still plenty to look at. Outside, the discount racks were packed with readers browsing for an inexpensive treasure.
But inside … books, books as far as the eye can see. Floors of books. Stacks of books. Book cases so tall the main floor was dotted with ladders to reach the top shelves. Copies of most every book you could want.
If there’s a heaven, it looks like this.
After all that, exhausted, carrying a book or two, it was time to make the long trek back to my hotel. I was footsore, for sure, but I was also high on books, and excited to crack the spine (figuratively) of my next great read.
Hope you enjoyed this little walking tour of NYC. I would definitely love to go back and revisit these sites, but also many of the other fantastic and unique little bookstores in and around the Big Apple. Literary tourism? Yes please!