After a long week of stressful classes, nothing can beat the subtle comfort that comes from spending a lazy weekend morning browsing endless rows of books at a favorite bookshop. But where can you go when the Strand and Barnes & Noble are too crowded? Here are the top five lesser-known bookstores in New York.
Three Lives and Company
154 W. 10th St.
Three Lives & Company is the classic little bookshop on the corner, waiting patiently for someone to discover its magic. Despite its relatively small size, you can easily spend hours browsing all the books in stock. Paperbacks are piled high on tables and squeezed so tightly onto bookshelves that it takes a little extra muscle to get them out. Adding to the charm of Three Lives is the friendly staff, who are always willing to help with a question, provide a recommendation or simply chat about favorite novels.
34 Carmine St.
Also known as Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, Drougas stocks an eclectic mix of titles, ranging from backpacking travel guides to political journals. While new releases are not readily kept in stock, older copies of bestsellers can be found scattered on the shelves at significantly lower prices. If you have a certain book in mind, avoid Drougas. Instead, come with a couple hours to spare and an eagerness to explore all the quirky books you will find.
75 Ninth Ave.
Posman books offers a different atmosphere from the quaint, small town feel of bookshops. It is sleek and modern, with shiny hardwood floors, bright green walls and geometric shaped shelves. But don’t let the design fool you — while reminiscent of large, chain bookstores, Posman is much more personal. A big focus is placed on indie novels, although the phenomenal cooking section can be considered the real highlight. Posman also has an expansive children’s section complete with beanbag seating, making it the perfect place to bring any children you are babysitting for a quiet but fun afternoon.
Housing Works Used Book Cafe
126 Crosby St.
Upon stepping into Housing Works, you might initially think the best aspect is the classic, two-level library setting. After seeing the huge selection of new and used books and the small cafe at the back of the store, you may change your mind. It is not until you notice the sign on the wall that you make a final decision about the store’s best feature: all profits go to supporting homeless people living with HIV and AIDS.
31 W. 57th St.
While Rizzoli Bookstore is a trek from NYU’s campus, the trip uptown is definitely worth your time. Stepping into Rizzoli is like stepping into a Victorian mansion. The walls are curved in elegant arches and a chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Books are housed on beautiful shelves of deep oak with gold trimming. Rizzoli has an extensive collection of books on almost every topic imaginable, but it specializes in the arts and design.
Bryna Shuman is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]