“This is the book store of all book stores. You might even go so far as to say it’s Stranded at the top.”
Strand Bookstore - New York
Strand Bookstore was opened in 1927, on Fourth Avenue on “Book Row”, which covered six city blocks and housed an outstanding forty-eight bookstores (what a dream!). It was founded by Ben Bass, who opened the bookstore with soley $600 – $300 of which was his, and the other $300 which was borrowed from a friend. The bookstore is named after a famous street in London where writers such as Thackerary, Dickens and Mill used to gather, and where succesful book publishers used to thrive! Today, The Strand is the largest non-commercialised bookstore in New York and is the sole survivor of Book Row. It was moved to Broadway in 1957, and is now co-managed by Ben’s son Fred, and his daughter Nancy.
The Manhattan bookstore stocks “18 Miles of Books”, which is more than 2.5 million used, new and rare books! The collection covers a wide variety of genres, and you are bound to find what you’re looking for. This is especially true due to the 240 knowledgable and passionate staff, which given a quick description of your literary taste, can recommend a load of books that they know you’ll love!
The bookstore is also so well known that it has been feautured in films such as ‘Julia & Julia’, and ‘Remember Me’, where Robert Pattinson’s character played a Strand employee – how cool is that?! Joyce Carol Oates’ short story, “Three Girls” also takes place at the Strand, and it was also referenced in “Gilmore Girls” (Season 4, Episode 1).
The store also has a Central Park Kiosk, located at 60th Street and 5th Avenue (directly across from the Pierre Hotel), so don’t forget to drop by if you’re ever in the area!
Recently Catherine from the Books’ Bird Blog visited The Strand Bookstore, and here’s what she had to say (photo credits to Catherine)
The Strand Bookstore- New York is a magnificent 18 miles of books all in one shop. With 4 floors of books, the store holds it all, from classic and modern fiction to children’s books. They also even have signed copies and second-hand books. Some of the second-hand books are even ‘out of print’, therefore, the shop provides many that you may not find anywhere else.
On top of the miles of books, the shop is filled with their own merchandise and stationery including pens, postcards, notepads (for aspiring writers) and canvas bags (for carrying your piles of books home in).
After not long browsing the store we already had arms of merchandise, which is all placed near the front of the shop catching your eye as you enter the building. So grabbing a basket (to lessen the weight) we headed to the back of the shop where the bulk of the books are shelved. it wasn’t long before I spotted an ‘out of print’ book on Audrey Hepburn- as I was unlikely to find this again the book found its way into the basket. It was soon joined by ‘Humans of New York’ (fitting as we were on holiday in Manhattan, New York). I also picked up ‘On Booze’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, not only is he one of my favourite authors but it also seemed like an amusing read. The final book to find its way into our shopping pile was ‘Upstairs at The Strand’, a book featuring conversations with authors in the bookshop itself.
Before heading to the tills, we headed to the other floors to check we hadn’t missed anything. Paying up, we were ready to leave but not before taking a free The Strand, bookmark from the till counter.
With so many books and so many floors to explore you could spend hours in there- particularly if you went in with no books you wanted in mind. However if you are looking for a particular book with so many to choose from chances are this shop will have what you’re looking for.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 10:30pm, Sunday 11:00am to 10:30pm