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Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-3270

The aptly-named Books of Wonder is a marvelous children’s bookstore near Union Square. They sell new children’s books, antiquarian children’s books, books produced by their own imprint (including every one of the Oz books), and prints and original art from children’s books.  The bookstore shares space with Cupcake Cafe–the perfect place to settle in with your copy of In the Night Kitchen.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby St
(between Prince & Houston)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 334-3324

Housing Works, whose primary mission is to support AIDS work, has an expansive and cozy used bookstore in Soho as well as a thrift store next door. The book selection is large and well-organized, and there’s plenty of seating in the coffee shop, which tends to have good cookies as well as other food.  It’s a great place to spend a few hours browsing and reading. It’s more casual than a lot of the neighborhood–when I stop there en route to Comptoir Des Cotonniers, in clothes selected for Soho shopping, I tend to feel overdressed. There are regular events at night, including Moth story slams.

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
(betweenLafayette & Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 274-1160

McNally Jackson  is a terrific bookstore in Nolita (across the street from John Fluevog, where I tried on some amazing green and purple shoes).  In addition to a stellar selection of books, there is a large and well-chosen assortment of magazines and cards. There are comfortable arm chairs to sit in, and a nice coffee shop, and the staff is always extremely friendly.  The manager’s table at the front is always covered with interesting books–I’ve never left without buying one of them.

Posman Books
75 9th Avenue
(At 15th Street)
New York NY 10011
(212) 627-0304

Posman Books is not enormous, but has a nice selection of books, with a wall of literature, a big shelf of travel guides, and lots of the best current nonfiction.  Many of the books are arranged on tables or facing out on shelves, which makes for pleasant browsing. There’s a children’s book and play area in the back. The space is lovely–and it’s in Chelsea Market, which is always worth a visit.  (Try the chocolate chip cookies at Jacques Torres: they’re amazing.)

St Mark’s Bookshop
‎31 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10003-5536
(212) 260-7853‎

There is no cooler place to buy books in Manhattan than St. Mark’s, in the East Village. (Rumor has it it’s Neil Gaiman’s favorite bookshop in NY.)  The selection is large, but well-edited and interesting, with shelves for cultural theory and graphic design, and a lot of art books–and an absence of current bestsellers and celebrity autobiographies.  I always find something unexpected and exciting there, and usually pick up the latest issue of Believer from the extensive magazine section.  It’s open until midnight every day, and makes an excellent stop on a late-night Manhattan walk.

The Corner Bookstore
1313 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10128
(212) 831-3554

The Corner Bookstore (which doesn’t seem to have a website) is a tiny and delightful bookshop on the Upper East Side with an extremely friendly staff and a varied selection of books, including literature, history, poetry, travel, and art and design. In the middle of the shop, there’s a a kind of children’s camp, surrounded by shelves that hold an excellent selection of children’s books at their eye level. The very cute independent bookstore in the execrable film You’ve Got Mail was apparently based on The Corner Bookstore, but don’t hold it against them*. This bookstore is unusual for this list in that it’s north of 18th Street, but there are many wonderful stops on the way downtown: La Maison du Chocolat, Barney’s…or you could of course stroll through the park.

*If you want to see a good Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film, watch Joe Vs. the Volcano.

Written by Lorin on May 10th, 2010

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