This place is heaven for bibliophiles. Shelves are lined with eighteen miles of books, from classic literature to modern, and a collection of used and out-of-print editions. What is this bookworm’s paradise? It’s the Strand Bookstore, a calm, intellectual alternative to the busy stores on Times Square.
The Strand opened in 1927, originally located on 4th Avenue, which was nicknamed “Book Row.” Entrepreneur Ben Bass wanted to create a place where books would be loved, and during the next few decades, writers came from all over the country to sell their books at this bookstore. Today, the Strand is the last surviving member of the original 48 bookstores from Book Row.
This independent bookstore holds more than 2.5 million books, which cover more topics than you could imagine. Philosophy books, foreign language editions and even rare books find a home among the eclectic array of shelves.
You can definitely get lost among the bookshelves in your hunt for the perfect novel to add to your summer reading list – and I’m speaking from experience. The basement is made up of cases that span from floor to ceiling and make up a maze of walkways. But twist and turn your way through the collection, and you might just come across some hidden artwork scattered throughout the store.
If you manage to make your way through all three floors of the shop, don’t think you’ve seen it all. Outside, the sidewalk holds dozens of carts full of used books all $5 or less.
Whether you’re looking for a different kind of shopping experience, or if you want to see a piece of New York’s literary history, the Strand is the place to be. If you stick around long enough, the Strand also hosts book signing events and talks given by authors and editors. While you can find smaller Strand kiosks around the city, the main store is not to be missed.