Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Banres & Noble Union Square

Bookstore: Barnes and Noble Union Square

Location: New York, New York

Why I Love Them: The summer I was in New York after I visited Books of Wonder I wandered a few blocks east and stumbled on the original Barnes and Noble. This is a Barnes and Noble that is no more. The obvious reason is seen in what I was doing that day. I was heading to the Barnes and Noble located on Union Square and overlooking that famous park. This is an iconic Barnes and Noble in an old brownstone, whereas the original store, just a block away, while the beginning, didn't really embrace how the store had evolved since it's founding to be the powerhouse brick and mortar store it is today. Therefore a few years ago the original location shuttered it's doors and the Union Square location became the new flagship store. When you read about the mega signings and events that Barnes and Noble is hosting, this is the location where it all goes down. Story upon story of exposed duct-work and gorgeous pillars, so that while it still feels like a Barnes and Noble it also feels like something more. It feels older. More steeped in publishing history than your average chain store. And that's what makes this location so unique. That while it is the flagship of a chain store and has all the amenities you'd expect, it has a personality all it's own. This is what makes it a must visit store. Oh, how I hope to one day make it back to New York and get to go to a signing here. Now that would be truly memorable.      

Best Buy: Now this is going to be another one of those weird "best buys" that I've sporadically written about and that all seem to have happened in New York. The first time I went to New York was in June of 1996, but compared to the horrid humidity I had just left behind in Washington D.C. the heat was nothing. Plus I was ferried about by taxis almost everywhere due to being sick with a sinus infection. The second time I went to New York, the trip I was on when visiting all these bookstores, was again in June, but I wanted to walk the city. I wanted to see and do things that the rest of my family was unwilling to do on my previous trip. The thing about summer heat, especially for anyone who lives in a city that has many trees, is that you never really appreciate how freakin' hot it can get when the heat is funneled down the side of buildings that have been baking in the sun all day and the pavement is just radiating so much warmth you expect it to buckle under your feet. I longed for trees and streets that had shady sides. Therefore my visit to Barnes and Noble was practical. I needed to hide from the heat and cool off. Which means my "best buy" was whatever beverage and food I picked up at the cafe. I don't remember what it was, but I remember the sheer bliss of sitting at a table in a huge and completely empty cafe near a window overlooking Union Square with amazing air conditioning pouring down from the ceiling. I didn't buy any books, but still this is one of the best memories I have of a Barnes and Noble and no books were involved!


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