Book Culture

City Living, Upper West Side 

Photo of the Strand’s new UWS storefront, taken by 6sqft on July 7, 2020 

After a long and dramatic saga, the Upper West Side’s Book Culture closed for good in February, but a new beloved book store is opening up in the storefront. The Strand announced earlier this year that third-generation owner Nancy Bass Wyden signed a lease for the space, which will be renamed The Strand at Columbus Avenue. And Gothamist received confirmation from the owner that it’ll be opening this month.

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CityRealty, Upper West Side 

Book Culture on Columbus on Thursday 1/9/20, taken by 6sqft

Drawing comparisons to “The Shop Around the Corner” in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” (which is also set on the Upper West Side), Book Culture became a beloved neighborhood shop for its whimsical atmosphere, great selection of books, and cozy children’s reading room. But this past year, the store’s owner penned a letter to city officials asking for a $500,000 loan to stay afloat amid unpaid vendor debts and loans. Earlier this month, a city marshal seized the store for “eviction action” due to unpaid rent, West Side Rag reported. Though the store was hopeful it could find a solution to remain open (even starting a Post-it Note campaign where customers left their support on the storefront), they announced today in an email that their doors are shut forever.

What happened?

City Living, Upper West Side 

Photos courtesy of Book Culture

The latest independent bookstore in danger of closing is the Upper West Side’s beloved Book Culture. Owner Chris Doeblin issued an open letter earlier this week in which he urges the city to provide assistance in the form of an immediate loan. Despite good business—they’ve been able to expand to three storefronts uptown and one in Long Island City—Doeblin has stated that he would need a minimum of $500,000 to keep things afloat and fend off the “awful spiral” of unpaid vendor debts and loans.

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Archtober2020