Billed as "NYC's only remaining LGBT bookstore," Bent Pages of Staten Island has shuttered. On their Facebook page this weekend they wrote, "Well, It was a good run, wasn't it? Thanks to all who made the experience so rich and meaningful. Heart's hurting a little bit just now, but we'll be alright."
Opened in May 2008, Bent Pages held many community events, including "read-alouds, musical performances, sit n' knit, Scrabble Tournaments, and more." On their Yelp profile they wrote, "We are lesbian-owned and value the memory of small bookstores and mourn the loss of so many bookshops in New York City."
Co-owners Robin and Katie told me:
"People loved the idea of Bent Pages, but had a hard time getting off Facebook to actually come in. People simply did not come in to buy books. We were a used bookstore, specializing in LGBT titles, many of which were rare and out of print. There seemed to be little appreciation for this. We heard everything from, 'Just books?' to 'Oh, I don't read' to 'Oh, are they all free?' After almost 5 years, it got harder and harder to walk in the door. We are giving ourselves time to breathe, listen to the universe, and see what happens."
Oscar Wilde's old space
As for lost LGBT bookshops in the city, A Different Light vanished in 2001, and The Oscar Wilde Bookshop, the first gay bookstore in America, followed in 2009. Oscar Wilde was in business for 41 years. Its empty space in the Village was quickly filled with an upscale boutique, but that didn't last long at all. Oscar Wilde's space is empty, up for rent again.
Maybe The Bureau of General Services Queer Division can move in. They now have the lonely distinction of being New York City's one and only queer bookshop.