Nothing beats the smell of old books stacked high in a sunny bookstore on a charming summer day. New York City is full of bibliophiles who love to frequent independent and big-names book shops throughout Manhattan, on the hunt for the latest release or just a calm spot to read. Some of coffee and desserts inside, while others may be bare bones but offer free wifi and a chance to browse. Every local swears by their favorite, so travelers will have to try a few to decide on their own preferred book haven in the Big Apple.
Travelers with a sense of humor and a love of all things quirky will want to make a beeline for 34 Carmine Street in the East Village. The shop is called “Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books”. Really. It says so on their sign. It’s open really late as well, even until midnight on the weekends, so it can be worth stopping by for a book to conclude the night with back at your hotel. Most literary finds only run a few dollars and staff are more than willing to offer a few recommendations. It might not carry the newest bestsellers on your list, but it’s perfect for discovering a hidden gem not many have read.
Ladies flock to this shop, as it used to be a strictly feminist hangout and bookstore. Nowadays it has a more inclusive stance, but has still stayed true to its global justice and equality roots. There are more than 6,000 titles ranging from magazines about women’s rights to biographies of those incarcerated. This is the place to learn, as they also hosts various workshops, discussions and even performances on the daily.
Among the student crowd in the Lower East Side is this shop, holding some wonderfully written masterpieces just dying to be picked up. St Mark’s Bookstore has been around for decades and has withstood the test of time and popularization of Kindles. Every month, they welcome an author to do a reading and signing as well, which would be a fun alternative activity to try while in the city. The décor is simple and unpretentious, allowing for a safe space to curl up with a new read and get lost in its story.