Thursday, December 24, 2009

Skyline Books

VANISHING

I've been dreading this one for some time.

In response to a recent post here about Skyline Bookstore's 50% off holiday sale, a reader commented: "Bad news, Jeremiah. Talked to a clerk at Skyline last night and he confirmed my worst fears. Closing up shop in Feb."

Another reader confirms that a "Retail Space Available" sign has gone in the window, and SavageNYC provides further information and insightful commentary.



On 18th Street since 1990, and recently Twittering, Skyline Books has been under threat of closure for years. It's just too good a bookshop to stay alive in the new New York.



Years ago, when I worked around the corner in a job environment more corporate than I could stand, this bookshop was my salvation. I spent the lunch hours here. Just being among the books, just browsing through their pages, would renew me.

The fat, gray cat would renew me, nudging my pantlegs while I skimmed the poetry and fiction sections. Her name is Linda, which is an amusingly serious name for a cat, and you can see pictures of her here.



As fewer people are buying and reading books, as bookstores across the city are shuttering or being shuttled off to other parts of town, this news comes as a terrible blow to book lovers in New York. Maybe, like Left Bank Books and Biography, they'll get a second chance in a new spot.

Let's keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, Skyline, you will be missed.



14 comments:

Mykola Dementiuk said...

That was a great bookstore, you never know what you will find there. I got a hard copy of William Goldman's 'Boys and Girls Together'. Hadn't read it since the paperback version in the middle 60s now I poured over that one in the 80s. What a delight! Except for the boring ending that the author was probably was forced to change. A great book at that...and a great bookstore slowly gone to waste. I'm happy to have experienced it, sad that anybody didn't. Go in and buy something before they close forever.

EV Grieve said...

Damn.

Alex in NYC said...

Another one that really breaks my heart. I found a great old vinyl 78" record of Blind Blake there back in 1996 that I'd been looking for since my pre-teens. Why aren't places like this treasured by more people???

Melanie said...

Hi--Happy Holidays--there is a piece on the EV Hotel and your site is mentioned on Gothamist today. Take a look.

(tani) said...

This is one my favorite bookstores in NYC! What terrible news, but when I saw the half off sale signs I knew they couldn't mean anything good....I'll have to make one last visit. Sucks.

Anonymous said...

"Years ago, when I worked around the corner in a job environment more corporate than I could stand, this bookshop was my salvation."

This is what is truly said. People don't realize that we are not just losing culture but also our reason to care about life. The next person who is pushed to the edge by a foreign, corporate world will have no bookstore to hold them back from going over. Tragic.

chris flash said...

Skyline is among the few and decreasing number of bookstores that sell the SHADOW on consignment. As small independently-owned bookstores disappear, independent publishers lose outlets to get their work into the hands of the public.

Skyline is one of the few remaining old-fashioned bookstores where you can explore and lose yourself in a non-corporate atmosphere. With Skyline gone, we ALL lose!!

I'm going there this weekend and buying something as well....

JackS said...

Sad, but I would like to point out that the area known as BoCoCa (cringeworthy name, but only way to describe it) is now turning into a mini-bookstore district. Get off the F/G train at Bergen Street and you have 2 great stores right on Smith, walk up to Carroll and there are about 3-4 more and even on Atlantic Avenue near Clinton Street is another.

I lament the good old days when I too walked around Gramercy Park in search of cool small stores to take a respite from the workday, but things sometimes shift to other places. And FWIW, all of these small bookstores are warmly welcomed to the neighborhood!

Grand St. said...

2 more extant book stores that haven't been mentioned in recent threads are Mercer St. Books and 192 Books on 10th Ave.

Ken Mac said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Jeremiah !!

13 Journal said...

This was a great shop. And I am floored about Left Bank Books as well. Jesus.

Anonymous said...

The owner should move to somewhere in the boroughs. Rent's cheaper out there.

whatever said...

Skyline Books is the place where I have found my most precious and unexpected books (often rare, signed, and quirky, always interesting). However, it is really more than that. It is a browser's paradise, a book lovers' and cat lovers' paradise and home. You can hang out there with Linda the Cat lounging on you and everyone gets it. Rob the owner and all the people who work there are wonderful They want to open up in a new space. Please show them your support as this is a hard time for them. Rob might smile and make a rueful joke if you ask about the plans for the store, but they really want to reopen (nothing sadder than broken hearted hipsters hiding their pain!). There are many Skyline (and Linda) fans who want to help them reopen. Show Skyline some love and the spirits of all the book owners and writers that hang out there will bless you and your writerly and bookish intentions.

Anonymous said...

To my friend Rob Warren the greatest book dealer in the greatest independent book store in NYC....Sorry this had to happen and hope a new space will be found so you can pursue your love of books and create once again a book lovers Garden of Eden..Bob Lemkowitz