New York City's Lost Bookstores


Article in Sunday's New York Times by Dan Kois about bookstores that live "only in the mind." Maybe you've visited one or two in years past...if so, post your recollections.


In the article there was this paragraph:


This cozy boutique near 69th Street, run by the Wall Street heir Arthur Lehman Loeb, served the carriage trade. "I remember I was shopping there one afternoon," Ms. Lebowitz said, “and I heard Arthur tell an assistant: ‘Mrs. Auchincloss is leaving for Paris and wants something to read. Pick out two books, and bring them to her apartment.’ "

In 1978, when her first book, "Metropolitan Life," was published, "I signed a number of copies at the store," Ms. Lebowitz said, "and a few weeks later Arthur called me, and said, with a combination of annoyance and desperation, 'You must come sign more books - I'm having to sell unsigned copies!' "

Laughing, she added, "I guess Mrs. Auchincloss does not buy unsigned copies."

I was wondering who Mrs. Auchincloss was so I searched the name and found this Wikipedia entry:

Anybody know if the Mrs. Auchincloss in the NYT article is the wife of the author in the Wikipedia entry?

Yes, I believe she is.

This article brought back my days in the late 70s and early 80s, when I lived in Manhattan and couldn't afford any entertainment beyond going to bookstores. They missed my real favorite, Salter's Bookstore, on Broadway near Columbia. What a place for discussion and books. The last owner, John, was the first person who made me think my view of books mattered. He was serious, but kind. It was a serious bookstore, no itty-bitty books, no posters or calendars, no cook books. Those were available elsewhere. I could browse at Salter's until it closed. I miss it still, and curse B&N for their ignobility. They took over the Columbia bookstore, then the inventory law changed, then Salter's was gone. Tony Kushner misses it, too.

In the 60s I spent hours and lots of dough in the Eighth Street Bookstore every week. They had the best selection of books ever. They were open quite late every night, and the staff was very knowledgeable. The poetry section and the anthropology section were wonderful. There is nothing to match it today.

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