One of these days I will get out of New York City and visit some other shops. In fact, I’d love your suggestions for my next day trip. Think New England, Long Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey… anywhere I can get to in a day, and I’m there!
This week I visited The Corner Bookstore on the corner of Madison and 93rd Street in Manhattan. It wasn’t until I started doing these blogs that I realized there are so many adorable and well-curated bookstores in my own neighborhood. It’s allowed me to explore and spend money in a whole new way. I think New Yorkers tend to think of all the neat stuff being downtown and forget that the Upper East Side can be fun too. (Seriously.)
When I first got there I was the only one in the shop. The sign on the door asked that cellphones be turned off before entering, so I dutifully did as I was told and slipped my phone into my purse. The store is small, a single open room, but being the smart New Yorkers that they are, the team at The Corner have arranged the books and shelving to create more space and aisles that are easy to navigate.
I wasn’t greeted upon entering and didn’t really mind until they greeted everyone who entered after me. I guess my not being a regular didn’t warrant it, but I had read such great things about the staff that I was a little bummed out. That said, it’s always nice to be left alone to browse without feeling like they’re drilling holes into the back of your head. I was able to linger in books about Paris for an embarrassingly long time.
At first I was confused where to find what I was looking for. And then I realized– the hardcovers were in the front and paperbacks were in the back. I do like the idea of putting new releases in the front, but I felt cheap going to the back looking for a non-fiction paperback.
I enjoyed scouring the shelves for the perfect book to take home. The selection is small and specific. Everything was already narrowed down for me. I had just finished a crime novel and I wanted to shake it up with something more poignant. Even though their non-fiction selection skewed a little political, I found a beautiful Joan Didion gem, The Year of Magical Thinking.
I bought it, having a simple transaction conversation with the clerk and realized that they had been hoarding some seriously cool books at the front. I would recommend starting there if you’re to visit. There are paperbacks and hardcovers there, unsegregated.
Overall, the atmosphere is quiet and soothing. It’s rare that you can find a store in the city that you can browse in near silence. Even though I felt a little lonely, I was appreciative of the fact that the staff just let me do my thing. I was there for the books, not new friends. It was a wonderful way to spend a Friday afternoon and forget about everything else going on.