New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Strand

Everyone in New York knows the Strand Bookstore at 12th Street and Broadway. With a slogan "18 miles of books", the Strand is a contender for the largest used bookstore in the United States (along with Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon). Independent and family-owned, it was founded by Benjamin Bass in 1927 on book row - an area on 4th Avenue between 9th and 14th Streets which at one time had over 30 used-book stores. In 1956 it was taken over by son Fred Bass; in 1957 it was moved to its current location. Under the stewardship of Fred's daughter and owner Nancy Bass-Wyden, the Strand appears to be trying to come of age - I notice they now have an online presence. The second floor has been renovated. However, it still is a browser's store - the size and inventory is overwhelming, the store with its 3 floors is a virtual maze (if you go, visit their rare book room - the largest collection in the city). Its inventory is not organized like a typical bookstore. Most find it daunting. Click here and browse these very entertaining reviews and you'll get an idea of what you're in for. Here was one of my favorites: "Holy mother of GOD is this a huge bookstore. Never in my life have I seen this many books in one place. When I went in, it was daytime. When I left, it was dark. The Strand is like a black hole...it sucks you in, devours time, and never lets you leave empty handed. I found books here that I didn't even know I wanted. I spent far more than I could afford. It's EVIL! Be careful when you enter this place...it will steal your mortal soul!"

7 comments:

Lucy said...

One of the jewels of downtown NYC...

Chris & Deb said...

I actually found myself leaning in toward the monitor....as if the store was sucking me in through cyber space.
Another very nice intimate portrayal of NYC at night. Great job!

Brian said...

Chris and Deb;
Thanks. If you like bookstores, you would get sucked into this place.
Brian

Anonymous said...

man I want to love in NYC

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

Strands! :-))))
Do you want to hear the story of how I went in, looking for bargains, ended up (escorted!) in the rare books floor, fell in love with a book, thought I would never own it, and got it more than a year later from my brothers as a birthday gift? 750 Dollars worth of gift.
Good old Strand's, may it last forever!

don said...

wow 18 miles of books!!! i have the same problem leaving book or cd stores with a empty wallet :) :)

B. Jonas said...

I worked at the venerable Strand back in the late 1980's. Employees were paid (in cash--no checks) on fridays, which by strange coincidence was also the only day employees could make purchases. Far too much of my paychecks went towards books as a result. Yep, Mr. Bass was a shrewd businessman...!