Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bookstores of New York City | The Strand & Housing Works

Whenever I travel, there's one particular type of shop I love to stop in...

....a BOOKshop, of course!  Although, let's be real, I like to stop in bookstores at all times, abroad and at home.  But there's something about bookstores in exotic places that's extra fun.  Like the Bookshop B&B I stayed at in Lyme Regis in England.  Or a wonderful used bookstore above a cheese shop we found on a road trip through Wisconsin.

And when it comes to NEW YORK CITY, you better believe there are some amazing bookshops just waiting to be discovered.

One of the most famous has to be the red-awninged STRAND Books on Broadway.  This is where Becky and I headed next (after an early afternoon spent at Chelsea Market, remember?) on our whirlwind weekend trip to NYC.

I know we're here for the books, but my eye was immediately caught by a table of book totes as soon as I walked in the door...

Literary HEROS.  Jane Austen represent.

There were about a million different designs featuring the Strand logo (that's complete hyperbole, but there were a bunch), along with a few Kate Spade designs.

Ahhhhh but now let's look at the booooookksss...

And there's more downstairs!  And they'll ship it anywhere!

It's never long before my feet turn to the classics section.  Hello Plato, old thing.  And look - PASCAL!  (I love Pascal.  And not just because the chameleon in Tangled is named after him.)

I had been hesitating over the bags on the table up front, and it turned out my Strand bag was waiting for me back by the classics.  JUST LOOK AT THOSE CATS.  And that library!

Becky is also a book-lover, so neither of us were in a rush in our perusing. :)

Shelves and shelves and shelves - what makes the Strand so different is how HIGH those shelves stretch too.  There are literally ladders down some of the aisles.

It's like a cave of books.  It's the most wonderful thing.


We had so much fun wandering and looking at the selection and also surreptitiously people watching.  I love people who go to bookstores and I also love people who work at bookstores, and when you combine those two with the wondrous eclecticness of New just doesn't get much better.

This is what the downstairs looked like, in case you were wondering.

Strand selfie before heading out onto the street!

Our bookstore browsing was not done for the day, however!  I had done my research and looked for the best bookstores in NYC before we left, and that brought us to SoHo and our next stop...

This is the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe on Crosby Street.

This store is smaller and cozier than the Strand - it has a beautiful mezzanine/balcony above the main book space.

With those curved staircases and the dark panels and hung lights...people have weddings here!  No joke.  They were actually closing early that night for a wedding - we saw the flowers arriving as we left.

Books overflowing from the walls to V-Carts

Two little chairs...and no you can't sit in them, adults, no matter how tired you are from traipsing all over Manhattan.

Luckily there is seating back by the cafe.  I got some coffee, and then Becky and I found a table up above to rest our feet.  We had started the day at the Empire State Building and made it to SoHo without using the subway or taxis, just walking!

Some of the seating on the second level.

Such a pretty view - and perfect to people watch.  At bookshops especially people say the most fascinating things and have the most interesting conversations with their friends - or, even if they're alone and perfectly silent, the books they're looking at and considering do the talking for them!

More adventures in SoHo are coming up, stay tuned!  Click here for a complete index of the New York City trip report updates.

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