When I was 12, my mother told me, “You can never have too many books.” To this day I believe her maximum, so of course, I love exploring bookstores-especially old bookstores here in New York City.
One of my favorite bookstores, The Strand, opened its doors in 1927, just south of Union Square on 12th Street and Broadway. The Strand proudly proclaims that it is the “world’s largest bookstore,” and boasts 18 miles of bookshelves. There are alcoves chock full of books of every size, shape, texture, and color waiting to be discovered. My favorite sections are the dollar book racks outside the bookstore, the old poetry compendiums nestled between encyclopedias on the tops of the bookshelves, and the incredible collection of hundred-year-old hardbacks at the front of the store. Be careful, you could easily lose a child, or yourself, between the racks of books. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You must visit the Strand if you have ever dreamed of sliding across shelves of books on a ladder in a library, like the one from the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. You can recreate that classic cinematic moment on one of the several stepladders gliding along the bookshelves in the Strand, I know from experience.
To get to the Strand, take the 456, or NQR to 14th Street, then walk south to 12th Street.