This is my favorite place second to the Met Museum. I learned about this book store shortly after my move to NYC from my boss, a book loving freak. I thank him very much for this since most of my pay has gone to this book store! But hey, I love books as well so it's not so bad that browsing through their shelves has caused me to go broke. I heard so much about this book store, specially their art book department that one day I had to see it for myself. I've been collecting art books since I was 16. My first purchase with my first ever pay check was a book. I would go to the Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum in Connecticut and shop in their gift shop, since most book store chains do not carry a good selection of art books. I remember walking into this place and my fist impression was WOW!!!!! It was like out of a movie. The first image that came to mind was the book store in the Never Ending Story movie.
As I walked in, the place was full of books wall to wall and floor to ceiling. It was unbelievable! And this was only the first floor, which you can see pictured above. I made my way through the crowd, and believe me, this is a crowd. I have never seen a book store so busy with customers in my life. This store is very popular...you see their shopping bags every where. Why you ask? They buy and sell books, so you can always find books at a very low price. You can also find vintage, hard to find, and out of print books. They also have some international books.
As I walked up the stairs I was greeted by a mezzanine which I thought was the second floor, and thought to myself, "this is it?" This is what I've been hearing about, a few feet of space? But as I walked a couple of feet in I saw another set of stairs that led up to the real thing. I could not believe my eyes. A whole second floor dedicated to art, not a small section like other stores, but a whole floor. The images above and below are small sections of this floor. There's a lot more you are not seeing. I was like a kid at a candy store. As I looked around the big wall of monographs (right behind the guy in white...this wall is three to four times bigger than the picture area) I found books I had been looking for in years.
In college I went through most of all the art books in the library and wrote down the titles and ISBN numbers of all the books I would love to own. It turned out to be a lengthy list and one that contained many out of print books. I found them all here and then some. In the past two years I've built a large library of art books and not only has it cost me a lot but I don't even want to think about the time when I have to move and my wall of books has to come down.
Unfortunately on this last visit I did not have money to buy not even a single book. I found a few titles I liked and have added them to my whish list. It was a nice visit never the less. It always is!
For those of yo who would like to visit the store when you're in the city just get to the corner of Broadway & 12th street. The closest subway stop is Union Square, the cool hang out place.