Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Three Lives & Co. Bookstore

This just came in to my mailbox. I would like to be more eloquent about this, but right now, I am not happy. I love this fucking bookstore.

Dear Three Lives & Company Customers,

I am writing to you about a possibly significant event for the bookshop in the upcoming months. The building in which Three Lives & Company occupies the corner retail space has been put up for sale. In preparation for this sale the owners did not renew the bookshop’s lease earlier this year and we are now on a month-to-month lease. As you are certainly aware, the white-hot real estate market in New York City means this could present some challenges for the bookshop.

Ideally, we would like to stay in our space, our address for thirty-three years, when a new owner for the building is found. 154 West Tenth Street has been a wonderful home for all of us, staff and customers alike, for all these many years. Jill, Jenny, and Helene, the founders and original owners of Three Lives, built an amazing bookshop and an incredible space in which to display books. We hope to work with the new owner when that time comes to keep this wonderful shop.

Should a lease not be offered to Three Lives then we will look for a new space to build our home. The shop has moved once since it originally opened on the corner of West Tenth and Seventh Avenue, and there’s always the possibility for a third life for Three Lives. It is our desire to stay in our neighborhood, the West Village, but we will need to find the right space at the right price, not an easy task considering the current commercial rental conditions in the area.

It is important to note that this is not about a small, independent bookshop being battered by chain retailers, or online retail conglomerates, or new electronic devices on which to read a book. Three Lives & Company is a thriving enterprise. We have had record years the last three years as the independent bookstore market in general has found its footing despite many challenges. A bookshop with an interesting selection of books and staffed by passionate, professional booksellers has a place in the book world.

This letter also allows us to recognize and thank the extended Levine family, owners of the building at 154 West Tenth, for the opportunity they gave Three Lives & Company when we moved into their building in 1983, their cooperation to ensure our long-term success, and their understanding of the importance of locally owned businesses to enrich a neighborhood.

Our dear customers, we want you to know we will do all we can to ensure a long and vibrant future for Three Lives & Company. We know how important this bookshop is to many of you, the history you share with Three Lives. It is your passion and support that keeps us going, that makes every day a joy. We all remark that it is still a thrill to slip the key into the lock every morning and open the door to Three Lives. We want to keep that experience going and we want you to be able to stop by, find some interesting books, chat about a recent favorite read, or to simply share the news of the day. Whether we continue to welcome you to our corner spot on West Tenth and Waverly or from a new location, we look forward to being your bookseller in the years ahead.

For now, it’s business as usual at Three Lives & Company. Books are arriving every day, special orders are still an important part of our business, we’re reviewing and ordering Fall ’16 titles (it’s going to be a good one, new books from Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran Foer, Michael Chabon, Ann Patchett, Michael Lewis, Colson Whitehead, Anne Carson, Jay McInerney, George Saunders, and all those books we don’t even know about yet!). And, we’re reading and recommending some great new books for the summer.

On behalf of the staff, I would like to express our great appreciation for your patronage and our gratitude to have you as our customers. We will keep you updated with any news.

In the meantime, come on by and let’s talk books.

Toby Cox


Dominic said...

I love that place too. Hopefully the new owners will be understanding but if not then they will be gonzo. So disappointing.

bjs said...

Dream scenario: Current owners make keeping Three Lives in place, at a reasonable rent, a condition of the sale of the building. C'mon, let's all dream hard!

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Wonderful place. I always liked it round there, w. Bonnie Slotnick's (gone but in a great new home) and Julius nearby. A real pocket of beauty. It's good to know Three Lives is doing well, but why oh why does this go on and on and on? Hope they make it through.

Moshe Benyamini said...

Really hope Three Lives survives. This store is a treasure.

Brian said...

An ironic name for a store featured on this site. How many lives does it have left? A beautifully designed storefront.

Steve Miller's fantastical journey said...

Let's manifest a dream scenario! Too much of the best of old NY is disappearing. art

John K. Friedman said...

When I moved out of Manhattan 8 years ago, friends asked if I missed anything about the City. I said, only 2 things: Chinese food and Three Lives. I've gotten over the Chinese food thing. I still miss Three Lives -- the greatest bookstore in the world. Bar none.