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The Best Art Bookstores in NYC

  • Ashwood Books
  • MoMa
  • Book Marc
  • Taschen Soho
Come and check out the best bookstores in NYC.

Whether you’re a collector of the classics or a comic book devotee, New York City is the place to be for books on all kinds of art. Staying in the heart of Midtown East gives you easy access to the books-and-brunch culture of NYC.

There’s something glorious about spending a lazy Saturday morning wandering through bookstores in the Big Apple. They’re an oasis of calm in the middle of the city that’s filled with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and ancient pages. Art lovers, in particular, can rejoice at the sheer volume of bibliothèques devoted to it — boutiques specializing in antique titles, first editions, or out-of-print treasures can all be found on the island of Manhattan.

For Fashion Lovers

Book Marc

Who knew that fashion bad boy Marc Jacobs had a standalone book store? This little-known gem has stacks of fashion, film, and rock & roll-inspired tomes curated by the New York native himself. Book Marc is at 500 Bleecker Street.

Representing haute couture on the other side of the pond, British designer Paul Smith is also in on the NYC bookstore action. His library is a little more transatlantic, and features collaborations with British children’s illustrator Richard Scarry. Paul Smith has three locations in the NYC area.

Antique Finds

Ashwood Books

With a beautiful selection of maps and prints and a wide range of old and out-of-print titles, Argosy Books (116E 59th Street) is New York’s oldest independent bookstore. The landmark shop has six floors to explore, and specializes in Americana. Other rare books can be sought at Mast Books, a store devoted to old and new volumes on art and related themes like design, fashion, photography, and cinema. It’s nestled on Avenue A between 5th and 4th Streets.

Museum Stores

MoMa

Some of Manhattan’s best museums also have the best gift shops, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art  is no exception. The store, located at 235 Bowery, houses a collection of some of the best contemporary art books from around the world. Limited editions, periodicals, and two or three dimensional pieces can also be purchased here.

The Museum of Modern Art another great place to pick up contemporary publications — MoMA has an impressive selection, from pop culture classics like Humans of New York to the latest exhibition tie-ins. Look out for the store exclusives that really make the trip worthwhile.

For Photography Enthusiasts

With its exhibitions, courses, and events all centered around the reproduced image, it’s no wonder the International Center of Photography Store is the first stop for photography fans. In front or behind the lens, the selection here covers every facet of this popular hobby and profession. Dashwood Books should also be on the itinerary of every photophile tourist. The 33 Bond Street store is located farther south than other locations on this list, but the selection there justifies the trip.

Iconic

An art book lover’s trip to NYC would not be complete without the legendary Rizzoli, the world-renowned “Italian purveyor of art tomes.” The flagship is at 1133 Broadway, where countless glossy pages can be found, covering everything from fashion, to interior design, to architecture.

For something a bit closer to home, check out Rizzoli at Saks, which opened recently on the ninth floor of the famous department store, and is within easy striking distance of the Fifty hotel. Other notable must-sees include Taschen at 107 Greene Street. Its range features everything from pop culture to the classics, but the store is worth seeing just for the architecture. The contrasting poured concrete and vibrant murals make this a truly Instagram-worthy trip.

So make sure to carve out some quiet time while staying at Fifty NYC, an Affinia Hotel that’s perfect for some #AffiniaBookworm book shopping.

(Main image credit: ken yee/flickr; 2nd image credit: Mike G/flickr; 3rd image credit: Garrett Zielger/flickr; 4th image credit: Bit Boy/flickr)