Whether you’re looking for a hardboiled mystery, some French lit, or just a cozy armchair to curl up in, there’s a New York City bookstore to fit every reader’s unique needs.
New York is home to a vibrant ecosystem of independent bookstores, each with its own distinct decor, customer base, and vibe. If you’re searching for a cozy way to spend a winter afternoon, try one of these specialty bookshops in the heart of the city.
1. For readers who: prefer their books covered in flour
Visit: Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
Even if you don’t run into a famous chef in this East Village bookstore, you’ll definitely encounter a few at-home cooks who fancy themselves professionals. Regardless of your cooking ability, you’ll be amazed (and maybe slightly overwhelmed) by the sheer number and variety of cookbooks on Bonnie’s shelves. Time it right, and your visit might coincide with a tasting or culinary chat.
2. For readers who: will always have Paris
This bookstore is a veritable safe haven for Francophiles. Owned by the French Embassy, Albertine is home to the largest selection of French literature in the entire country. You’ll find thousands of titles from dozens of French-speaking nations around the world. Study up before your next trip to Paris!
3. For readers who: want to make reading a charitable experience
Visit: Housing Works Bookstore
It’s best to visit the Housing Works Bookstore with an open mind, since the store’s stock is entirely donation-based. While its shelves might not hold the exact book you’re looking for, a bit of digging will surely yield a pleasant surprise and one sold at a reduced price, to boot. Even better, the entirety of the store’s profits go to Housing Works, a charity which benefits AIDS victims.
4. For readers who: are Comic-Con regulars
Visit: Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet caters to all things nerdy, geeky, and glorious. In addition to all the graphic novels and manga you could want, the store features collections of action figures, apparel, and memorabilia to browse. You might even meet some friends who share your specific fandom while you’re scanning the sci-fi shelves.
5. For readers who: have a major case of wanderlust
Idlewild is New York’s only bookstore with a global bent. This independent bookstore and language school exclusively sells travel and language books, in addition to offering Spanish, French, Italian, and German classes. Even the name connotes travel: Idlewild was the original name for JFK Airport.
6. For readers who: have a passion for activism
If you’re looking for literature on social issues, you’re guaranteed to find ample reading material at Bluestockings. From feminism to prison reform to race relations, the store stocks its shelves with tomes that discuss the issues that matter. If you want to be a part of the dialogue, Bluestockings also hosts events like open mic poetry nights and workshops.
7. For readers who: love a good whodunnit
Visit: The Mysterious Bookshop
Located in Tribeca, this bookstore is one of the oldest in the country to peddle mystery novels exclusively. In addition to selling mystery, crime, and espionage books, the store hosts seven different book clubs. That means you’re bound to find some like-minded Agatha Christie fans with whom to swap recommendations.
Affinia is offering an extra night free when you book a three night stay in one of our locations in New York City. Book now.
(Photo Credit: German Poo-Caamao/Flickr)