July 2, 2013: “Housing Works Bookstore”
I found a gem of a place. I was wandering around Soho during my lunch break, wanting to discover a bookstore so I could get some much needed pleasure reading material. I’ve been slowly feeling the financial strains of living in NYC (how is it that I am not even shopping, but just being, and I’m still spending so much money daily? Ludicrous) so I was hoping for a secondhand bookstore somewhere, something like The Strand up around Union Square.
Then I stumbled into this place. This awesome place exuded just the vibe that I wanted. Rows and rows of books (with a book ladder!) and people all immersed in whatever, the faintest smell of musty old books and a high ceiling. The air conditioning was turned up to “just right”—I have come to hate air conditioning in most SoHo stores and offices including my own, God forbid I would freeze to death by the end of this summer—and the dainty little cafe served delicious and decent priced meals, like 3 dollar mac and cheese and just 8 dollars for a grilled cheese and soup of the day combo.
This place had the vibe of being hip, but not overbearingly hipster. There were quiet chatters, readers, and an old man who was immersed in drawing unrecognizable portraits. It was a scene just out of a Woody Allen film. Really and truly.
In my excited little mind I was gleeful at these little things: Beer! Wine! Drinking and reading! Fuzzy feelings! Even the cookie size is fitting! (Not too small, but not as big as to make you feel guilty!) Tracy Chapman on the speakers! Books of all kinds in their gently used states! What more could you ask?
I spent about half an hour just browsing and people watching and mac-and-cheese eating until I had to go back to the office. I came out with a gently used Faulkner and am hoping to go back as soon as I finish this, for some Salman Rushdie, Eudora Welty, and other great people. It’s a place I would love to spend some of my off-duty afternoons in just basking in the atmosphere and digging into a great read. It also fits very well with my newly reinstated motto, “thrift is a virtue.” (Sidenote: A week into being in NYC and I’ve already spent way too much on “stuff”, such as fish patterned bowls from Sur La Table and Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer “just in case” I run out. Why do I do this to myself?) I’m very much looking forward to the next time I will be back at this wonder of a place.
PS It has dawned on me that this is the third post in a row that I have written about books/something related to books/libraries. If you haven’t garnered from this, yes, I am a bibliophile (read:book geek) and a huge one at that. I promise I’ll come up with something more interesting from today onwards though.
PPS Also I have found that it is virtually impossible for me to write about something about the day, on the day of. I come home from work, exhausted, and die on my bed at 10pm sharp. This has become an incurable habit. I think I will start reminiscing and producing actual decent work at 6am the next day when I get up to start another day, instead of struggling to form sentences at 10pm. I hope this is okay.