The Strand Bookstore is a must-see for book lovers
There is no end to the number of good bookstores in New York City (and I´m not only talking about the big chain stores like Barnes and Noble.) There are little shops on the Upper West Side like Labyrinth, used books at different thrift shops, art book shops, amazing public libraries, and specialty shops with educational books for kids, etc. The list goes on and on! One of my favorite places, however, to lose myself in the sea of books are the three and a half floors of towering stacks at The Strand Bookstore just off Union Square in Manhattan.
The Strand, established in 1927, claims to have 18 miles worth of books. I don´t know if this statement is actually true, but after printing it on countless shopping bags, tote bags tee shirts and more paraphernalia than any NYU student could ever want, those 18 miles have become the stuff of urban legend.
The store´s history is really rather interesting. It started out as a family owned business by Benjamin Bass back in 1927 on Fourth Avenue, which, at the time was known as “Book Row.” When Benjamin´s son Fred took over the business in 1956 he moved the store to its modern day location, and now Fred´s daughter Nancy runs The Strand Bookstore.
The Strand Bookstore has something for everyone, and every price range. It is well known among New Yorkers for its publishers´overstock, used, rare and out of print books. It is, in fact, one of the world´s largest used bookstores. This is great for the consumer because you can always find some unexpected treasure on its shelves.
The store is welcoming, but a bit chaotic, sort of like New York itself. The shelves are stacked high almost reaching the ceiling, and little red plastic tabs tell you what the subject matter of each section contains. It’s almost like being in a reference library, but you can purchase the books rather than take them out on loan.
One of my favorite corners of the store, as an elementary school teacher, is the children´s section. There are books in different languages, cheap used children´s books, and classics, along with stuffed toys and educational games. I also love the cookbook section and the novels. But, as I said, there really are books about anything you can think of (even if you aren´t a big reader, there are great gifts and things to take home as a souvineer.)
We Ruskommend a trip to The Strand with 5 boquerones because it is the perfect place to find the book you´ve always been searching for, the book you didn´t know you were searching for, and the book that was searching for you. This is the kind of place for true book lovers who enjoy hunting for just the right title. Even the air inside the shop smells like books…(this might seem obvious, but in Barnes and Noble there is less and less an atmosphere of books, and more and more a coffee house atmosphere.) At The Strand there is none of this coffee house cross over business, and with an estimated 2.5 million books. How can you not find something to take home?
Information about The Strand Bookstore