This year the women of the WNBA-NYC chapter organized a Bookstore Crawl on the Upper East Side. Our intimate group of seven braved a potential downpour to travel to these small, but significant bookstores. While at each store, we heard about the history and the ownership of each. The first stop was Crawford Doyle Booksellers, a quaint, inconspicuous store. The space is utilized completely, covered top to bottom with literary fiction, best-sellers, non-fiction and children’s books. The most prized books, in the First Edition’s Case, were on display next to the register. The manager, Thomas, explained the history, how it always had been a bookstore, although the owners and the name have changed over the decades. The space also holds two other tenants who work in rare and interesting books, but the public can only see those gems by appointment.
Next, we walked to Kitchen Arts & Letters, a bookstore dedicated entirely to food related books: cookbooks, food memoirs, travel journals, anything that a chef or aspiring chef might be interested in reading (or cooking!). They also had a small section dedicated to these books in French, Italian and German. Our contact was Mike the owner. He said because the store was so specialized, they were able to reach more people. He used an example of a customer calling in to find out if they carried a book on a specialized method of cooking. Even if they did not have it, he would be able to find it, explaining further that they are best at finding unusual requests.
Our last stop was only a few blocks away at The Corner Bookstore, aptly named for its location. It was a pharmacy many years ago, and through excellent care has been able to retain many of the original structures and design. Our guide, Nick, explained that The Corner Bookstore had been around for many years, and their specialty is catering to the customers in the area. One aspect that sets the store apart is a program that allows kids to submit book reviews. The store also frequently holds signings and readings, which sets them apart from much of the local competition.
We hope to plan another excursion again.
Thanks to Marilyn Berkman for organizing the event, and to the Owners and Managers of the bookstores for hosting us.
To see more pictures from the event, check out the album on our Facebook page!