One thing New York has is choice choice choice!!! Sometimes it’s a bit too much to handle, do i NEED to make a decision about how much froth i want on my coffee (ok bad example, i need exactly one third of foam on top of my cappucino).
Anyway – one subject there can never be too many options for is BOOKS!!!! New York has many great bookstores, quirky independent stores, great second hand stores – but the King of all NY bookstores has got to be good old Barnes and Noble. Yes i know it’s a corporate giant with a Starbucks and floors taking over perfectly good historical buildings – but something about it just has charm!
The very first Barnes and Noble i ever frequented was the one in Boston on Coolidge Corner, where my best friend and i (we went on a summer holiday when we were 13 to visit my uncle) used to collect the free paper bookmarks from the till, with the Barnes and Noble logo elegantly letterpressed (?) (or so my memory seems to have romanticised it to have been) into the paper so we could parade them back at home in England where no one really seemed to care…
These memories coupled with the more recent ones of visiting the wide windowed, wood planed aisles of Barnes and Noble on Astor place in Greenwich Village seems to have intensified its swoonfactor for me.
Barnes & Noble’s beginnings can be traced to 1873, when Charles M. Barnes started a book business from his home in Wheaton, Illinois. In 1917, his son, William, went to New York to join G. Clifford Noble in establishing Barnes & Noble. During the height of the Great Depression, what later became the Barnes & Noble flagship store was opened on Fifth Avenue at 18th Street in New York City, where it still resides today. This store developed a worldwide reputation for excellence by serving millions of customers with its comprehensive selection of general trade books, academic titles and textbooks, and medical books.
In researching this post i discovered that Barnes and Noble in Astor Place, closed just after my last visit in November 2007 : ( How sad, i hope i find another with just as much charm.
Barnes and Noble, Astor Place