Monday, January 14, 2019

Westsider Books


Located at 81st and Broadway, the great Westsider Books has just announced they will be closing. Another heartbreak for New York City bibliophiles.

Owned by Dorian Thornley and Bryan Gonzalez, the shop opened in the 1980s. They call it "the last used bookstore on the Upper West Side." But the neighborhood keeps on changing, filling up with more money and more chains.

“It’s all different now," Gonzalez told Narratively a few years ago. "There’s more money here, and the people have changed, and so have their tastes. Not that long ago, the city gave you a sense of belonging to something unique, exciting, cosmopolitan. Now what you find here, I can find in a Jersey mall."

Westsider is a wonderful, authentically New York shop, packed from floor to ceiling with books. When I was taking classes in the neighborhood, I would stop in every week and always walked out with a book in hand. Recently, Westsider had a cameo in the excellent and very New York nostalgic film "Can You Ever Forgive Me."

via Medium

The employee I spoke with doesn't know the reason for the closure, but "I can guess," he said. I can guess, too.

He told me they'll be open until February. Until then, everything is 30% off.


carver said...

I bought a lot of stuff there in the 80's back when it was Gryphon Books. Haven't lived there in years but had hoped it would hold out.

Ruki444 said...

Thank you so much for keeping your blog going as long as you did. My experience in NYC is pre-90's. I lived through the death-knell that Reagan wrought, and whenever I watch some movie from the 50's - 80's I get weepy-nostalghic for the exciting city that I knew. At least the other boroughs aren't as messed up as Manhattan. - Julian

Unknown said...

The other day you did a story on Westsider Rare & Used Books closing. Some locals created a Go Fund Me page to raise $25,000 to help keep the store open. (Dorian, the owner told West Side Rag that he’d keep it open if someone raised $50k—not thinking someone would actually make it happen.). Within 24 hours we’ve raised more than $25,000. Dorian will used the money to pay back rent, pay some rent ahead and buy more books. After hearing about the great progress, he was stunned and said, “This renews my faith in humanity.” Please write an update and add the link to the campaign.
We need more positive stories about how communities are rallying around to help save local businesses.
Best, Sally Martell

Brian said...

Oh gosh darn it, being featured in a movie can sometimes be the death knell to a beloved sacred store.