Where have all the good book stores gone?
One by one, like a domino effect we see book stores disappearing. It is disapperaring as fast as the melting Arctic circle. *insert sad face here* Electronic versions of books seem to have bookstores closing up shop.
Which reminds me of a bookstore that I used to go to in my neighborhood. The bookstore was called, “The Paperback Plus”. It was a good size store that had a fair amount of children’s books in the back, teen books in the middle and at the very front of the store were adult books. There were great opportunities that came along with having a local book store in the neighborhood. Weekend trips with my mom, you could pick up children activity books, and sometimes they had celebrity author book signings. Those seem to be the highlights of my reading childhood.
My fondest memories has to do with two important people who my family were big fans of. The Yankees General Manager at the time, Joe Torre and Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter. They both came out with autobiographies in the year 2000. Both times my mom took my brother and I to stand in the freezing winter weather to wait to get one picture and signed copies. (click Joe Torre’s picture for a fun fact)
Today any bookstores that I go to are a car drive away or a bus, then a train ride away. Those rides can take as long as 30 minutes. It is a dreadful experience to get to, but once achieved, I am delighted to be in the presence of thousands of books. Which always seems to remind me of that scene in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. When Bell discovers the beasts ginormous library and she is in pure HEAVEN.
Bookstores for children are so important. I am currently doing research on the importance how books are to children. I can tell you that reading to kids can only help them in talking and figuring out how to spell words. Reading time for me as a child was important for my education. My mother loves books, so every chance she got she always read stories to my brother and I. The only worst part about loving books so much is the fact that you don’t want to get rid of them so you have so many books you don’t know what to do with. Therefore, you are stuck with piles of books in your house.
The reason I bring all of this up is not to reminisce about my childhood, but about how little by little the only bookstores to remain are college school bookstores, where almost everything is overpriced, and bookstores in the city. Sometimes all you want is to have a good bookstore in your neighborhood that is walking distance.
Which brings me to a story that I saw on Lehman College: English department’s Facebook page. There is an article that was posted about a young girl wanting to bring a bookstore to The Bronx. This story was originally posted on The Daily News page, the story discusses one of malls in the Bronx, Bay Plaza Mall closing its door for The Barnes & Nobles. I have been to that store, and I can tell you each time I am in there it was always crowded and filled with customers waiting on-line. It’s sad to think that with the demolish of this bookstore, the replacement isn’t what you would expect. It is being replaced by Saks off 5th (Saks Fifth Avenue) what is described as, “a high-end American luxury department store”. The lease for this store at Bay plaza is for 10 years. The flagship store is located on Fifth Avenue and Madison in New York City.
If you look at the area that surrounds this mall, Co-Op City isn’t exactly the wealthiest place to live, the housing projects are the buildings that surround the mall, and the streets are filled with wrappers, cups and bags of the nearby Wendy’s. When you think of Saks off 5th, you don’t think Co-Op City! You think a wealthy mall such as, The Westchester Mall. Which I can tell you from experience the moment you leave your overpriced cars you enter a building with fancy carpeting that leads to the escalators that take you to what I like to think of as, “The light”, but what others call, the main floor. Which is all white and pretty and yes it smells nice. The marble floors and water fountains are astonishing to look at and give you a feel that what you are wearing isn’t nice enough to shop in. I certainly felt out-of-place and out of comfort with my ripped jeans and converse. Lets just say, I haven’t returned since. But! I must say, if you happen to shop there, more power to you!
This new vision of bringing a bookstore to the Bronx is exciting and refreshing to hear. If this young lady, Noelle Santos, who did sign the petition to keep The Barnes and Noble at Bay Plaza, strives to bring a bookstore to The Bronx, I welcome it! I think it would be a perfect addition to the borough. In a statement to The Daily News she says, “I want to give the people who are migrating to the neighborhood some Bronx culture, it still has stigmas of being poor and unsafe, but I want to let the people know we do have intellectuals in the Bronx.” She uses and will continue to use help from other people who would like to donate money to help accomplish her goal. The official website of this indie bookstore is called, The Lit. Bar. By going to the website you can now sign up to get a jump-start on information and you can get information on the only indie bookstore in the Bronx.
The link is: http://www.thelitbar.com/
This is exciting news I thought I’d share to you. So for the avid readers who feel hopeless and may turn to electronic books altogether, not just yet…There is hope!
Written by: Rachel Strom