E, V at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.; 6 at 51st St.; B, D, F, V at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center
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This venue is closed.
The literati have a not-so-secret clubhouse in Gotham Book Mart, a three-storied shop whose original location hosted such greats as Dylan Thomas, Anais Nin, and Salvador Dali. (Photographs of these luminaries are now prominently displayed, alongside other Gotham fans like Mick Jagger and Katherine Hepburn.) Open since 1920, the quiet shop is covered with memorabilia and smells delectably of paper and leather. The wood-paneled downstairs sells new books, while the more open second floor has space for used books and for readers, who can crash at several small tables or on the carpeted floor. A classically designed third floor serves as an arts library and event space. Owner Andreas Brown and his flock of charming misanthropes are happy to help—or engage in fiery intellectual debate—when called upon, but they’re also just as content to read in a corner and leave browsing customers alone. (Sometimes, they don’t even look up when you walk in.) While the store stocks a little bit of everything, its specialty is 20th Century Arts and Literature, so if you need a signed play by Samuel Beckett or the complete works of James Joyce, you’re in the right place. If you're hankering for a medical textbook or the next "Gossip Girl," call ahead to make sure they've got it.Extra
Gotham Book Mart is home of The James Joyce Society, a legendary troupe of hard-core devotees who discuss his novels.